Carving shapes on the dance floor, initiating banter and enjoying a night out can be difficult sober, especially in a culture that loves binge drinking.
In New Zealand, it’s normal to sink a box of beer or bottle of wine in an evening.
Sobriety is an anomaly, I mean Tap Bar, the country’s first dry bar only lasted 5 weeks…
I’ve definitely got amongst my fair share of boozy nights in the past (Smirnoff Double Blacks were a particular favourite for my 18 year old self..) but as an athlete I chose to limit my weekend benders to the off season.
As much as I wanted to drink with mates and end the night inhaling a Big Mac combo, I wanted to improve in the pool more.
When I first started going out sober, I was often awkward, uncomfortable and susceptible to peer pressure.
It’s now been over seven years since I started going out dry, so I’m pretty much a sober veteran (N.B. I’m not alcohol-averse, I choose whether or not to drink depending on the situation). The dance floor no longer sends me in to an anxious fit and I’m comfortable surrounded by jovial drunks.
After so many years of water-fueled evenings, I’ve decided to write this blog to help those embarking on an alcohol sabbatical. Whether you want to make a health change, take a break or improve social confidence, this blog will help arm you with strategies to enjoy a dry night out.
First, I’ll identify The Challenges of going out sober. If you want something a little more specific, head over to my other blog of Top Tips to employ when heading out dry.
1) Your friends will peer pressure you
Being drunk is often associated with being fun.
Boozed humans tend to be louder, more accepting of challenges, funny and confident.
So if you’re one of those ‘legendary drunks’ (you may even have a nickname for your drunk alter-ego…) you will need to be ready to stand up to your closest comrades.
Communicating with your friends and explaining why you’re not drinking can help the situation.
Even if you only manage to get one friend on side, that’s one additional voice of support to help combat the barrage of nagging, challenges and pressure you’ll likely experience.
Remember, being sober does not make you a pussy, nor will it turn you lame. It’s hard being called out by mates, but those who genuinely care about you should have your back.
2) It takes mental mastery
When you first try sobriety you’ll likely experience a bubbling pool of negative emotion start forming in your head.
Letting go of self-judgment, of assumed judgment, of insecurity and situational anxiety is central to enjoying boozless nights.
It’s the ability to leave the ‘frustrating fringe’ at parties. To enjoy dancing without a gremlin of insecurity swinging from the chandelier in your brain.
It will take time to let go of these initial feelings, but just like anything, the more you try the better you get.
3) You’ll get tired
Time disappears with every drink I have when I’m out.
With vodka, I could stay out for hours and love every second, sober is a different story.
Beware the back aches and yawns.
When you’re out sober, 4am kebabs kind of lose their magic. Don’t be afraid to go home when you’ve stopped having fun.
Even when those drunk friends attempt to haul your butt back in to the bar so they still have a free ride home, you are the one who gets to choose when your night is over.
4) FOMO is real (Fear of missing out)
As soon as king cup or beer pong starts up, it’s hard not to crack and get in on the action.
We are an inherently social species, it takes a lot of strength not to follow the troop!
If you want to go out sober, be a f@$&ing Silver Back. Beat your chest with two water bottles and enjoy the booze-less night.
Remember, just because you’re sober, it doesn’t mean you can’t join in. If you have an epic bunch of mates, they should let you play with a substitute liquid, though it may take time to convince them.
When it comes to specifics, head over to my blog, Top Tips to employ when heading out dry, for strategies to help stick to your sober goals!
PS, if you liked this blog, give it a share, leave a comment or get in touch with me direct, I’d love to hear your stories / experiences about deciding to go out sober.