Stay Strong in Your Sobriety – How To Say No to Alcohol or Drugs

One of the hardest things a person needs to after rehab is to learn how to say no. Although completing an addiction treatment program is never easy, it’s often said that the real work of recovery begins after getting out of rehab.

In an alcohol or drug rehab, it’s not as difficult to resist the temptation to relapse since being in rehab offers separation from the outside world and, consequently, the people, places, things, and situations that would tempt a person to use.

In other words, being in rehab allows people to get sober during a period when they’d be much more likely to relapse if confronted with any of their triggers. It’s only once they’ve acquired the knowledge, strategies, and skills to resist temptations that they finally return home; or at least that’s the intent.

Unfortunately, many people return home from rehab before they’re completely ready. That’s not to say that they couldn’t have remained sober if they wanted to, but in some cases, people either don’t stay in rehab for a long enough time, don’t choose the right treatments and therapies, or their homes are places where it’s particularly difficult to remain sober.

Whatever the case, individuals who return home from rehab and quickly begin to experience temptation to return to alcohol and/or drug use should try to focus on ways to resist. Specifically, one would need to learn to say no in these situations.

Being “Too Nice” isn’t Worth the Risk

Some people who find it challenging to turn others down. When they’re asked for favors or to do things they don’t want to do, they feel they must agree or else they’ll risk offending the other person or cause the person to become angry or want to end the relationship.

It’s often because of insecurity that a person doesn’t want to decline others’ requests, but when it comes to a recovering addict’s sobriety, being “too nice” means sacrificing newfound sobriety. It’s just not worth the risk. As such, it’s important for such individuals to learn how to be able to turn others down while being respectful and courteous.

Don’t Apologize

As mentioned above, it’s important to be respectful and courteous when declining a person’s request or offer as this is how to ensure that one doesn’t offend the other person by saying no. However, a person who has politely declined another’s request or offer should also resist the urge to apologize.

By apologizing, a person is expressing regret and hesitance, which gives the impression that the person could be easily coerced into doing what they had previously declined. Therefore, don’t apologize for feeling that it’s in your best interest to say no.


Just about anyone has heard the expression “practice makes perfect,” and that could similarly be said for saying no to self-destructive things and situations. A person who needs to practice saying no will find there are many opportunities in a day to decline something that the person dislikes or doesn’t want to do. It would be a good idea to ask one’s loved ones for help with this, too.

Learn to Say No to Superiors When it’s Necessary

One of the main instances in which a person will want to learn to say no is to their boss or superiors at work.

An example of when a person should want to decline a boss’s request is when the boss wants to give the person additional work, but the employee already has a hefty workload. In such an instance, it’s much better to decline the additional work than to fall behind and have projects becoming late.

In fact, a boss would likely respect someone knowing their limits more than someone who could take on an extra project.

Always be Aware of Your Priorities

After completing an addiction treatment program, the recovery process isn’t over. A person must continue to remain focused on abstinence and remaining sober. Fortunately, recovery gets easier with time, but it still requires a person to have an ongoing awareness of his or her priorities. This awareness of priorities is almost an amalgam of all other pieces of advice mentioned here and is going to essentially be the reason why a person says no.

Remember: Time is a Non-Renewable Commodity

When we’re young, we feel like we have all the time in the world. Then we develop addictions and spend years or even decades abusing alcohol or drugs on a daily basis. It’s after beginning the recovery process that a person is likely to start thinking about the time that has been lost to active addiction.

But once a person begins to feel cravings or is offered alcohol or drugs, they begin to forget about how being in active addiction is tantamount to a sacrifice of time. As such, one should remember that time is a non-renewable commodity. If for no other reason, one should learn to say no in to keep from sacrificing any more time to the disease of addiction.

Take Time to Think Things Through

Making an informed decision can sometimes be quite quick, taking little time for a person to consider all the variables and choose the right solution. However, there are inevitably going to be many situations in which making a decision isn’t so obvious.

In these instances, it’s important to take the time to think through both or every option thoroughly. It may be difficult when cravings or temptation are a factor, but when a person in recovery considers a situation objectively, it shouldn’t be difficult to say no if that is, in fact, the best response.

Let CHAT Vistas Help you Get Your Life Back

Recovering from addiction takes time, and it also takes time for people to find their way as they settle into their sobriety. If you, or someone you know, would like to get on the path to recovery from substance abuse and experience the peace of sobriety, call California Highlands Addiction Treatment Vistas at 855-910-1176 to learn more your treatment options with us. We’re always available to help you or your loved one regain independence, health, and a fulfilling life.

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