Survive (and thrive) your first sober night out

On one particular sober night out, I was offered a drink four times, and people were so surprised when I said no, there were also a few comments of ‘Oh come on, don’t be so boring!’ and ‘Are you sure you don’t want a glass of wine?’. You shouldn’t have to explain to people why you’re choosing not to drink, in the early days I used to say that I was on antibiotics or painkillers or that I wasn’t well, until a few weeks of sobriety under my belt and I decided to just ‘come out’ and tell people that I just simply did not want to drink anymore.

I distinctly remember in those early days how daunting it was to go on a night out and not drink when everyone around me would be, we have such a strong drinking culture in the UK that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to go out and stay sober all night, but I did, and you know what? I actually had a great time; I woke up feeling amazing and proud that I didn’t drink, and I decided to do it more often!

This inspired me to write a blog post about surviving your first sober night out and hopefully, I can give you some tips to put to use:

Get your story straight

Get your story straight, either your friends know that you don’t drink anymore or you could use one of the following excuses: I’m on antibiotics, I’ve got a headache, I have a sports competition tomorrow, I don’t drink for religious reasons, I don’t like alcohol, I have to be up early in the morning, I need to drive; whatever works for you, or just simply tell the truth and explain why you do not want to drink alcohol anymore.

Plan your order ahead

Check the places that you will be going to ahead of time, it helps to know what type of alcohol-free options somewhere will have so that you can be prepared with your order. It makes it much easier if you know that there is a 0% beer that you can order, rather than being on the spot and having to order a simple soft drink. I used to feel more confident with my decision if there were good alcohol-free options; it made me feel that I was not missing out on anything.

Be prepared with AF alternatives

If you’re going for pre-drinks first, make sure you bring something that you will be comfortable drinking, for me this is an alcohol free prosecco or some nice cordial and soda water. If you feel up to it then you can still get involved in any games at pre-drinks and show that you can still have fun without drinking.

Stand strong with your decision

Stand your ground, you may get people asking you to have a drink or wanting to know why you aren’t, so just be firm in your decision. It’s a polite thing to offer someone a drink but it’s crossing a line asking someone if they’d like a drink when they’ve already said no. Do not cave to the peer pressure. The people pushing you to drink will probably forget that you’re not drinking later and it’s about what is best for you in that moment, not them.

Get up and dance

Dance! There is nothing more liberating than dancing sober, let your arms go, sing if you want to, you will soon see that no one is looking, and you can enjoy the music without needing to go to the bar or toilet every few minutes.

Be the sober guardian angel

Be prepared to put up with people repeating themselves, getting lost and losing stuff and have patience, we’ve all been there at one point, and we could all do with a sober guardian angel.

Find another buzz

If you start flagging then have a coffee, it’ll give you a bit of a buzz and you’ll be able to stay out later. When I first stopped drinking I used to tell myself that if I could stay out as late as everyone else who was drinking then I had proved that I was not boring, I know it’s silly because I don’t have to prove anything, but something about it kept me going and more often than not I’m actually the one still dancing into the small hours while the people who have had a few drinks are ready to go home!

Have an exit plan

If it gets too much, have an exit plan. For me, this is if the shots start coming out. It’s far better to say your goodbyes, leave on a good note and text each other when you arrive home, then feel obliged to stay out and ruin the rest of your night.

Reap the hangover-free benefits

One of the perks of not drinking is that you can go out and still be able to function properly the next day! Use your hangover-free mornings to go to a gym class, do some yoga, or even treat yourself to brunch with the money that you save from not drinking.

Most importantly, relax and try to enjoy yourself. You’ve got this!

Written by Sarah

Sarah has been sober for over 2 years and lives in Hastings, UK with her husband Jake and their two cats Ben and Jerry. She is also vegan and deeply passionate about animal welfare.

Sarah loves early mornings and will often be up from 5am watching the sun come up, it’s safe to say that sobriety has unlocked the early bird in her!

Since going sober she has been focusing on self-care, taking control of her mental health and setting healthy boundaries, this has resulted in Sarah finding new joy in things such as meditation, yoga, journalling, reading and long hot baths.

Sarah is a keen exerciser and loves to move her body whether that’s going on a long run, dancing round the living room like no one’s watching, or lifting some weights, exercise keeps her sane.

She wants to show everyone that giving up alcohol doesn’t mean you’re missing out on anything, if you want to know more about Sarah check out her webpage:

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