There’s a popular misconception about sobriety that when we stop drinking the party is over. And although to some extent this is true, you can still have fun in sobriety, and you can even party sober. Contrary to popular belief, your life doesn’t have to become boring, routine, and unexciting when you get sober. Recovery looks different for everyone, but if socializing is something you are fond of, you shouldn’t have to give up every party and every night out just because you no longer drink. So, what do you do? Thinking about partying sober can be daunting. That’s why I put together a simple list of 5 steps for you to follow if you’re ready to party sober.
1. Find a worthwhile event to attend
I don’t know about you, but when I was drinking I attended literally any event, get-together, party, birthday celebration, wine night, or dinner where drinks were being served, that I could. I never said no. I was out looking for a party all the time. In sobriety, I have decided to only attend events that are worthwhile. What does that mean? It means I want to attend events that serve a purpose, that celebrate someone I care about, that commemorate a certain occasion, that make me feel good. Don’t attend just to do something. It might make you feel uncomfortable being around alcohol and those situations.
2. Attend with friends you feel safe and comfortable around
Another thing I did while drinking was go out with anyone. I had many different groups of friends and when I wanted to do something I would go down the list and call each one until someone agreed to hang out with me. I had friends who I never really spoke with apart from when we were drinking. They served a purpose for me, I knew they would always be down to party. In sobriety, I’ve come to realize that in order to have a good time in a party setting I need to feel comfortable around the friends I’m with. I don’t normally go out to a random party with random people anymore. I feel too vulnerable and out of place. I enjoy going out with friends who know me, they understand I don’t drink, and they are there for me if I need something during the night. Being a part of a sober community, like Recovery Elevator, is also good way to to meet friends who are understanding of your situation.
3. Always have an escape route ready
I always give this tip to anyone newly sober, any sober person who ventures outside of their house to a social event, and anyone who wants to know how to party safely and sober. One of the beautiful things about sobriety is that you can always drive home after a night out! So, I recommend if you have your own car you take it to whatever event you’re attending so that when you want to leave you can do so immediately. This is important because if at any point in time you feel uncomfortable you have the freedom to leave right away. Of course, you don’t need a car to do this, but another escape route is recommended – whether that be an uber, a taxi, or walking home. Make sure you don’t have any responsibility to wait around for anyone else. Remember, your sobriety comes first.
4. Get a drink to hold
This is a personal preference, but I personally like to order a drink when I’m out, to carry and sip on. Some bars and clubs have non-alcoholic beer, but if this isn’t your thing, you can always get a water, soda, or some other delicious alcohol-free mocktail. It’s familiar to me to dance with a drink in my hand and it’s much better if that drink doesn’t make me feel funny or cause me to spill or fall. It’s also comforting to not have to stand in line at the bar when it’s crowded and wait to order something, or stand in line at the bathroom because I have to use the restroom 50 times in one night. For those of you who enjoy dancing hands free, you don’t even need to get a water! It’s up to you.
5. Have fun!
This is perhaps the most important element of partying sober: have fun. If partying sober seems too stressful or overwhelming, then maybe it’s just not the right time in your sobriety, or maybe it’s not the right event to be attending. The point of partying sober is to be carefree, have fun, and be relieved that your night can’t be ruined by drinking alcohol. Partying sober should make you feel good, not bad! There’s no shame in saying you aren’t ready to socialize in a setting where alcohol is, or that you just don’t feel comfortable at certain places with certain people. In sobriety, we have to learn to speak up for ourselves. Protect your recovery, your wellbeing, and your comfort levels.
Remember, the ultimate goal for living sober is to return to a bigger and better life, free from the shackles of alcohol and drugs. What better way to do that than to enjoy yourself worry-free, not in spite of your sobriety, but because of your sobriety? The fun I have today is different from the fun I had when I drank, because it comes with a secure sense of freedom.