The hardest thing about stopping drinking is often your friends’ reactions.

You’re feeling great, and you’re proud of yourself for finding this easier than you expected, but they seem to take it personally.

You changing your drinking habits forces them to assess their own, so they start getting defensive about how much they drink.

Or they start questioning you on your previous drinking habits, to check that you were drinking more than they do.

You find yourself reassuring them that it’s not forever (even though you think it is) and you’ll be back to “normal” soon.

Depending where you are on your journey, there might be friends and places you need to avoid so that you don’t give into peer pressure.

But my general advice is to think about how you present the information:

“I’m not drinking tonight.”

It’s a full sentence, you’re not explaining yourself. There’s no judgment on them or defence from you. It’s just a simple fact and leaves little room for argument or need to continue the conversation.

Compare that to, “I’m trying not to drink,” “I’m cutting down,” “I’ve got a big meeting tomorrow.”

All of these suggest a level of persuadability and uncertainty, and open the door for follow up questions.

Be strong and clear in your decision and your friends will respect it.

And if they don’t?

Do you really want to be friends with people like that?