Addiction, infertility and not asking why someone's not drinking – USA TODAY

Hundreds of reasons can explain why someone chooses not to drink alcohol – but they don’t owe you an explanation.
For many, drinking booze is a fun social pastime. For others, it leads to destructive behaviors. Some choose sobriety because of medical conditions. Some don’t like the way alcohol makes them feel. People who are pregnant or trying to conceive may avoid imbibing as well.
Whatever the reasons, none of them are our business, says Trish Caldwell, senior vice president of clinical services with Recovery Centers of America, which provides addiction treatment services. “We don’t have to know the reasons why somebody is choosing to engage in a behavior that they find to be a part of their wellness practices to support them.”
Experts like Caldwell discussed why people should never ask someone about their sobriety – and how to respond if they do.
If someone does ask, they could be forcing that person into a painful conversation they aren’t ready to have, like a struggle with addiction, infertility or other personal reasons. 
They could be in recovery or working toward recovery, Caldwell says, or they could be in a “contemplative stage of change,” where they “recognize they’re struggling with something but they’re not sure exactly the problem they feel they have with it.”
And while there’s a growing movement of sober-curious people, a large prevalence of Americans still struggle with alcohol abuse. One in 10 Americans over the age of 12 have an alcohol use disorder, according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics.
Alcohol is everywhere: Why it’s still so hard not to drink
Beyond addiction, if a friend is not drinking alcohol, they may be pregnant or trying to get pregnant, and “both can be stressful for someone with infertility,” says Betsy Campbell, chief engagement officer for RESOLVE, an organization that helps people struggling to build their family.
Studies show that an infertility diagnosis is just as stressful as a cancer diagnosis.” she adds.
Infertility is also common. In the U.S. among heterosexual women aged 15 to 49 years old with no prior births, about 1 in 5 are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying, the CDC reports. About 1 in 4 women in this group have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.
If someone says “no” to an alcoholic drink, you can simply reply with, “OK. Can I get you something else?”
“That’s literally the response,” says Caldwell. Friends and family members shouldn’t push for answers and let loved ones to approach them if they wish to share more about their decision to not drink, whether it’s just for one night or long-term.
Everybody has a story, but “not everybody has a right to knowing it,” she says.
Fertility struggles: What women dealing with infertility don’t want to hear
They should never ask why in the first place, but they probably will. “People are asking innocently,” Campbell says, “yet they may not realize that they are being unintentionally hurtful or raising a subject that the person doesn’t want to talk about.”
If questions do arise, here are some examples of what to say:
If someone wants to avoid probing questions about their alcohol consumption, there are some ways to abstain from drinking without being obvious. Here are some ideas:
Decoy drink or not, it’s up to the asking individuals to be more aware of these situations, and avoid making someone uncomfortable because they feel like they have to give an answer, Caldwell says. “The power is that you don’t.”
Taking an alcohol break? Here’s how to be inconspicuous


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