The Celebrity Therapist

The Celebrity Therapist

Be Ready to Just Say No

One of the best strategies for staying sober is to avoid old friends who still use and make new friends who don’t. But even sober friends might have a drink or smoke a little marijuana in a social situation. Certainly, you can just be “too busy” for gatherings that take place in a bar or parties where you think there might be pot. But it’s tough to avoid having dinner or a barbecue with friends where there isn’t at least some wine or beer being served.



 How do you just say no? The best strategy is to be ready with a few lines you’ve rehearsed in advance. Imagine yourself in various social situations where alcohol or drugs might be offered and think about how you’re most comfortable saying no. It might just be as simple as “No thanks,” or “No thanks, I don’t drink/smoke.” Practice saying your lines until they feel comfortable and natural.


Then, be prepared to go one step further: Have something else ready to say if you are pressured to take that drink or puff. Do you have to tell everyone you’re in recovery? Not if you don’t want to. You can simply say “No thanks” again and change the subject.  You can say something like, “My doctor told me to cut back,” or “I’m really trying to get healthier and this is one way I’m doing it.” I fyou feel okay with it, you can also say, “I’m in recovery now and I’d really appreciate if you don’t endanger my sobriety.”



How much you do or don’t disclose about your situation is totally up to you. Think about what’s going to be comfortable for you to say, and then practice it until until it feels really natural you don’t have to even think about saying it.


And if your friends are pressuring you to drink or use, stop spending time with them. You don’t need to be around temptation, and you certainly don’t need to be pressured into relapse. But more than that, you need to have friends who respect who you are and how you choose to live your life. If you say, “No thanks, I don’t drink,” that should be it–no explanation needed, no questions to answer. Surround yourself with people who support you on your new path and their positive energy will speed you on your way.



Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach and author of “The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery.”  She is the Life Coach on Celebrity Rehab on VH1 and has been an expert guest on CNN Headline News, Inside Edition, Fox News in San Diego, and KTLA News in Los Angeles.  She has been quoted in the New York Daily News, the Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, E-online, and Elle online. 

  • alexis

    Bianca…I fell u on so many levels. I was addicted to Vicodin for over 2 years. I have a 3 1/2 yr old son and Ive been Married for 6-yrs. I have had a blanket over my eyes for those 2 years. I was here…..but I wasn’t. I was taken 120 of the 7.5 vicodins within a weeks time. I woke up every morning and that was the 1st thing on my mind…where am i getting my pills today. I stopped cold-turkey on April 17th of this year. it was by far the hardest thing I have had to do, but I dont regret a min of the pain or being physically sick. The 1st 72hrs were hell, but Im happier now. I still fight with my so-called “Demons” every second on my day, but it simply mind over matter. I feel…FREE!! I read a book called “million little pieces”. Some of the book is non-fiction, but for the most part…his addiction was real. KEEP THE FAITH AND YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!!!!

  • Charlie

    Jennifer is so right. other people don’t really care what we do. as long as it doesn’t interfere with them doing their thing. I know for myself that I put more pressure on me than anyone else does. I guess a good 12step question is, ” What part do we play inany given situation. As for myself, i don’t to places where alcohol is being served. That’s what works for me.

  • Jennifer Centric

    I was terribly selfconscious about this in early recovery but found over time that most people don’t care whether I drink or not. It’s only important to alcoholics, not “normal” drinkers. Sometimes I make a joke of it, like “You really don’t want me to drink that.”

  • Bianca

    You know its a lot easier said then done. That really does help. I have that conflict everyday. And Im having a hard time right now. Harder than ever. The depression is starting to set in and I dont like it, trying to control it. Doing my best, day by day.

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