Let’s face it: being sober is synonymous with being serious, the antithesis of fun – a general all around party pooper. But that stops here. Far from being the short straw, being sober on a night out is basically like having magical powers – it’s all just a matter of perspective.
One thing to make your sobriety easier from the outset is knowing that you’re far from alone. Today just one in 50 young adults describes themselves as a “frequent” drinker, recent figures from the Office for National Statistics have revealed.
Between 2005 and 2013 the proportion of teetotal young adults increased by more than 40 percent, while in the same period ever dangerous binge drinking in young people fell by more than a third.
That’s all very well, but when no one else in your social group is following suit the reality of feeling like the odd one out can be tough. Instead of driving everywhere to use ‘designated driver’ as a fallback excuse, flipping your perspective is a sure fire winner in the sober stakes.
So get ready to have your life changed forever with this jolly little guide to breezing through the third degree on your choice to not drink, owning your pseudo drunken confidence, finding tasty alcohol free sippables (hangover free G&T, anyone?) and doing it all with patience and love for those swaying merrily around you.
Be a superhero
If you could have one super power what would it be? If you’ve ever given this question some thought and rate invisibility as the power of choice, then boy are you in luck. In staying sober while all around you stumble and swagger you develop the power to turn invisible at will.
You find yourself on a night out, able to do anything you want. Your friends can see you, but to everyone else you’re a dreamy blur, forgotten by morning. Ordinarily they would have been blurs to you, too, but tonight you’re out of the Campari cloud and get to experience the night in full Technicolor.
Realising that no one around you is paying any attention to your antics – or at the least will have forgotten them by the morning – is incredibly liberating. Instead of relying on alcohol as a confidence crutch, realise that a night without it is like discovering a secret level on a game. It’s your chance to consciously get up to mischief, dance like a maniac and fully enjoy all the antics you’d usually be too bleary eyed to remember.
Just when you thought you’d hit the jackpot discovering one superpower – brace yourself now – you’ve still got these mad skills to add to your repertoire:
- The ability to conjure time from NOWHERE – on account of hangovers being the Dysons of time suckers. Who knew ‘Sunday morning’ was a time of day?? People that don’t have raging hangovers, that’s who
- Awesomeness akin to Wonder Woman – due to your newfound ability to watch out for your buddies much better than if you too were drinking.
- Guessing the lottery numbers – well, almost. Although after a few weeks of not paying for alcohol and buying the subsequent essential greasy drunken food followed the next day by eating yourself out of your funk in the style of The Very Hungover Caterpillar, the £££ saved will be stacking up in your account. Thank you very much, virgin daiquiri.
By now no doubt you’re asking yourself, “How can I unlock this super fun secret level and outlast everyone else while dancing my socks off sipping on (non-alcoholic) gin and juice?” <> Well, below are a few tips that have helped me on nights out.
Defend your choices
If “No, I’m not pregnant, on antibiotics, or a recovering alcoholic” is the answer, what is the question? You guessed it. With alcohol so deeply engrained into our culture, a tirade of intrigued questions at someone’s mere contemplation of not drinking seems unavoidable, at least for now.
“But seriously, why aren’t you drinking?” Because apparently not wanting to lose two and a half years of your life (at a conservative estimate) to hangovers isn’t a good enough excuse.
People have very different reasons to stop drinking and it’s absolutely your choice how much you share. From heading to town with a bag full of pregnancy tests and peeing on demand for each person that can’t comprehend any other reason not to drink, to volunteering as designated driver (DD), everyone handles the inquisition differently. If you want an alibi even Houdini couldn’t evade, double team being DD with cast iron plans for the morning.
Not that you should ever need to answer such questions, of course – with the tables turned how well would they really stand up to scrutiny? Rather than questioning why you are making a health conscious decision to switch to alcohol free drinks, why do people not actually hold a spotlight to the hoards throwing back glass after glass of a legal depressant that eats our wages, strains the NHS, causes weight gain, stresses relationships and fuels anger, violence and a plethora of other bad decisions.
Rant over, this brings us promptly onto the next point…
No one wants a blackhole of fun at their party, sucking the joy out of the room.
It seems obvious, but this covers:
- Not preaching about the ills of alcohol to those that are drinking. It’s their choice.
- Not complaining that you aren’t drinking. It’s your choice; deal with it.
- Actually enjoying the experience. You’ve got free reign to party, what are you waiting for?
It may take a little adjusting, but if you’re usually the life and soul with a few bevvies in you don’t then sit meekly in the corner like a lost lamb. Nor is it good etiquette to replace your favourite tipple with a bigger glass of white whine. Just try to embrace the experience, maybe you’ll even learn a little about yourself.
Embrace the awkwardness
If this is your first sober rodeo, the night is going to feel very… real. Tonight there’s no calming Kool-Aid cushioning your contact with comrades and clients.
You’ll grow your confidence and push yourself more if sober, learning more about yourself and actually dealing with situations instead of relying on a cuddly barrier of alcohol induced comfort.
The senses aren’t softened but your syntax is sharper, and you’re sure to end this soiree in a similarly sophisticated state to when you started. Which is more than can be said for the basic brawl, swaying and slurring, surrendered to the beat.
Doing anything that bucks against those around you takes confidence to stick to, but sticking your neck out and not bowing to peer pressure will get you more respect than submitting to the whims of a crowd. Probably easier to achieve for the more stubborn among us who don’t like being told what to do, so if you’re not that way inclined and struggling without your beer jacket, just think about how terrible your morning afters are/ how amazing you’ll feel without the angry bear of hangover clawing at your back all day.
Overcome the tiredness
My absolute secret weapon, granted this may be too extreme for some, is to ration caffeine. I cut out caffeine over a year ago and now save it for ‘emergencies’, namely festivals and nights out when it packs a real punch.
Staggered level group
To ease yourself into a night sans alcool, go out with a bigger group of friends in which everyone has different aims for the night. If not everyone is a big drinker then there will likely be a few people on or near your level of fun.
Take a coat
You don’t have a beer jacket, so dress accordingly. The cold will feel cold and uncomfortable shoes won’t get any comfier, so start the night in an outfit that’s going to last the night and makes you feel confident.
You’ve got this
Being sober on a night out doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Get ready to be richer, happier and have more time than ever. When you can party just as hard as everyone else but remember it the next day, what’s not to love?
Have a fun night!