Even though the sober curious movement is growing, many people still seem to think that non-drinkers = major bummers. “Why don’t you drink?” and “How do you even have fun?!” are tossed at you like they’re not pretty personal questions to ask someone. Going to a party sober, unfortunately, means encountering some of these sobriety snoops. But it does not mean that us teetotalers are doomed to have a bad time. So we asked addiction and wellness specialist and counselor Erica Spiegelman to share tips on how to party when you’re sober or cutting back on drinking.
1. You don’t have to be the babysitter
Just because you’re not knocking back tequila sodas doesn’t mean you are obliged to be a designated driver. “If you aren’t drinking, always take your own car or Uber so you don’t get stuck and feel obligated waiting on someone who is drinking a lot or driving someone who wants to stay till late hours in the night,” says Spiegelman. “That way, you stay on a healthy sleep schedule/routine.”
2. Set expectations in advance
“If you don’t want to drink or don’t want to drink a lot, time management and creating boundaries with your time are key,” says Spiegelman. “Tell the host in advance that you can only stay for an hour, or that you would like to come and join but have to leave early. If you communicate this upfront, you won’t feel bad about leaving.” Also, set expectations with yourself. “Maybe you commit to one drink per event or nothing at all,” she says.
“Bring your own sparkling waters, kombucha, and any other non-alcoholic drink so you know you will have something healthy to hold and don’t have to rely on the host to have something you will enjoy,” says Spiegelman.
Spiegelman says examples look like:
“I am a strong woman who doesn’t need alcohol.”
“I am strong and can have fun with one drink.”
“I am a healthy person who can create boundaries.”
5. Have someone on your level
“Bring a supportive friend to the party with you who isn’t drinking or who agrees to just one drink, so that you have support and don’t feel peer pressure,” says Spiegelman. Having a support system via text can also be helpful.
6. Make plans for the next day
“Create accountability for the next day,” says Spiegelman. This may be scheduling a walk with a friend, booking a yoga class, or making an appointment with a trainer—something that will help you want to wake up early and without a hangover. “Be proud that you gave yourself these boundaries and stuck to them,” says Spiegelman.
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