Alcohol – Refuse a Drink

Do you know,

  • what counts as a drink?
  • the signs that alcohol is causing harm?
  • how many drinks are in a common container?
  • why “being able to hold your liquor” is a concern?
  • how much US adults drink – and where you fit?

To find out, visit the Rethinking Drinking webpage, National Institutes of Health

Alcohol Refusal Skills

Tips on how to be better equipped to refuse alcohol:

  • Choose positive friends who don’t need alcohol to have fun.
  • Be assertive in turning down the opportunity to drink.
  • Make eye contact when turning down an opportunity to drink.

students making a pact Statements to use in refusing alcohol:

  • “I have more positive things in to do in my life.”
  • “I don’t need to drink; being sober is a great high.”
  • “I would rather hang out at the rec center or student center.”
  • Say, “No thanks, I don’t need it.”
  • “Sorry, my friends and I have chosen not to drink.”
  • “Sorry, I don’t drink.”
  • “I am on my way to the gym.”
  • “I am saving my money for a new car.”
  • “I am allergic to alcohol.”
  • “No thank you, I am watching my calorie intake.”
  • “Sorry, I am on my way to practice.”
  • “Sorry, I have a test to study for.”
  • “Sorry, I am not 21.”
  • “Sorry, alcohol does not mix with my medication.”


  • “No, thank you!” (No explanation necessary; your response can be short, sweet and direct).
  • “I’ve had enough.” (Again, short, to the point and completely acceptable).
  • “Thanks, but I’ve got a ton of work to do later.”
  • “I’d rather get a soda, thanks.”
  • “I’m allergic to alcohol.”
  • “I’m driving tonight.”
  • “I have a game/practice tomorrow.”
  • “I’m O.K. for now.” (BYOC: Bring your own cup and keep it filled with something other than alcohol).
  • “No thanks, I’m taking medication that I cannot drink with.”
  • “I’m dieting; alcohol’s got way too many calories.”


With an invitation:
Leave the door open for the future, “Not now”.

With a friend:
Plan with a friend beforehand what each of you will or will not do. Stay with the plan and stick together. The decision not to drink then becomes a kind of team decision.

With an exit:
Plan to physically relocate if you feel you are in an uncomfortable situation.

Have a quick one liner ready:
“No thanks, I’m still tired from being up late last night”.
“You know that your problem is? You think too much about others. It’s time you start making yourself and your need’s a top priority”.