April is Alcohol Awareness Month!

Alcohol Awareness Month is a public health campaign organized by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence as a way of increasing outreach and education regarding the dangers of alcoholism and issues related to alcohol. 

Kansas Prevention Collaborative would like to empower college aged young adults experiencing their newfound freedom with strategies to stay alcohol free, which means knowing your “no.” When you know alcohol will be available, it’s important to have some resistance strategies lined up in advance.

Interested? Great! Keep reading to find information, examples, and helpful links to assist you in being successful with staying alcohol free.

How to Sharpen Your Resistance Skills by Knowing Your "No"

Create Your "No"

When you know alcohol will be available, it’s important to have some resistance strategies lined up in advance. If you expect to be offered a drink, you’ll need to be ready to deliver a convincing “no thanks.” Be clear and firm, yet friendly and respectful. Avoid long explanations and vague excuses, as they tend to prolong the discussion and provide more of an opportunity to give in. Here are some other points to keep in mind:

  • Don’t hesitate, as that will give you the chance to think of reasons to go along
  • Look directly at the person and make eye contact
  • Keep your response short, clear, and simple

Script Your "No"

Many people are surprised at how hard it can be to say no the first few times. Build confidence by scripting and practicing your lines. First imagine the situation and the person who is offering the drink. Then write both what the person might say and how you’ll respond. You can try the “broken record” strategy which is, each time you are asked, you can simply repeat the same short, clear response. Or you can come up with your own unique approach.

Here are some examples:

When they say, “everybody’s drinking,” I say, “not true, I’m not.”

When they say, “stop being weak and have a drink,” I say, “sober is my superpower.”

When they say, “just one shot,” I say, “that’s one too many for me.”

When they say, “play this drinking game, it’s fun,” I say, “I want to remember the fun tomorrow.”

Practice Your "No"

Next, get comfortable with your phrasing and delivery by practicing it repeatedly. Consider asking a supportive person to role-play with you, someone who would offer realistic pressure to drink and honest feedback about your responses. Whether you practice through made-up or real-world experiences, you’ll learn as you go. Keep at it, and your skills will grow over time. 

To help, the links below will take you to forms to help you plan how you’ll handle high-risk situations and offers to drink:

In addition to being prepared with your “no thanks,” consider these strategies:

  • Have a non-alcoholic drink always in hand
  • Ask for support from friends to cope with temptation
  • Plan an escape if the temptation gets too great

Remember, choosing to stay alcohol free is your personal power.