You’ve stopped drinking. Now what? How to be sober and social

How to have fun without alcohol

If you are used to alcohol being the guest of honour at the majority of your social outings, it’s normal to feel unsure of how to adapt to your new booze-free lifestyle.

Here are some ways to have a thriving social life when sober:

Organise activities that don’t include alcohol

Rather than lament the missed opportunities to drink with friends, take the initiative to plan fun and interesting outings. The more unique or exciting the plans, the less likely that you or others will miss the presence of alcohol.

Find a hike with stunning views where you and your pals can enjoy a picnic, book a painting or jewellery-making class, or find a great restaurant where the focus is on the food, not the drinks.

Offer to be the designated driver

If you don’t mind the extra mileage, offering to drive your friends home after a night out is a great way to eliminate peer pressure to drink.

The obvious bonus is that everyone gets home safely, and sometimes those drives home are full of more fun and laughter than anything that happened at the venue.

Plan more social outings in the daytime

Obviously, drinking isn’t reserved only for evening events, but many people are more likely to avoid alcohol during the day due to work, family, or other commitments they want to stay clear-headed for.

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Daytime activities are less likely to centre around free-flowing drinks and may feel more comfortable while you are still getting used to socialising sober.

Spend time with friends who don’t drink (or make new ones)

It can be helpful to spend time with people in your life who also don’t drink, especially when you are still finding your footing.

Of course, you don’t have to have everything in common with your mates, but it’s nice not to always be the odd one out amidst a group of people drinking.

If you don’t have a strong group of sober friends, it could be a great time to explore booze-free communities like Untoxicated, Australia’s largest sober social group.

Confide in people you trust

If you feel comfortable, share why you are no longer drinking with close friends. It may help them understand your decision better and remove any fear that you judge them for continuing to drink.

Most friends are more than happy to support you in your decisions once they know it’s something you are doing to feel better and lead the life that you want to live. Being vulnerable can be scary, but it will help you to build stronger, deeper friendships of mutual support and understanding.