Hopefully, you have had some opportunity to practice your refusal skills since completing the “Learning and Practicing Refusal Skills” module.  It doesn’t matter whether or not you were actually offered alcohol or other drugs - you can still practice these skills on your own.

Practice includes running through what you would say if somebody did offer you a drink, a smoke or a hit.  So, hopefully you have practiced saying “NO” out loud, just to get comfortable with this response.

It is often difficult to refuse someone who is offering you alcohol/other drugs.  This is particularly the case if you don’t want to offend the other person.  It can be tough to say “no”, particularly when you have said “yes” before. 

But, equally important are your feelings and your goals, so it is a good idea to practice what you might say in these situations before they happen. 

Remember the key ways to get your message across, in a way that you feel comfortable, and that won’t offend the other person are (Monti et al., 1989):
Use a clear, firm, confident tone of voice.

Make direct eye contact with the other person.  Stand/sit straight to create a confident air.

Do not feel guilty about the refusal and remember, you will not hurt anyone by not drinking/using.

“NO” should be the first word out of your mouth. 

Suggest an alternative (e.g. something else to do/eat/drink).

Request a behaviour change so that the other person stops asking (e.g. ask the person not to offer alcohol/other drugs anymore).

Change the subject to something else to avoid getting involved in a drawn out debate about using/drinking.

Avoid using excuses and avoid vague answers, which will suggest to the person that at a later date you may accept an offer to use/drink.
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Refusal skills review