Going out after lockdown: Katie's tips

July 2020 | 8 minutes

In this blog, Katie shares her tips for going out as lockdown eases while sticking to your drinking goals — whether that be drinking less, moderating or not drinking at all.

On 4 July 2020, bars in the UK opened for the first time in over three months. Most of the country rejoiced! This means that thousands of local watering holes are back open for business, and slowly many people will go back to their usual social routines. But what if that’s not what you want? What if you have found solace in the safety of your sofa, snuggling up in the same joggers you’ve had on for weeks? What if sitting in comfortable silence with your loved ones appeals much more than sitting in a loud bar nowadays? What if you feel glad to be far removed from drinking as much alcohol as you used to, and the prospect of going back to that feels uncomfortable? Well, I’m here to tell you that that’s ok!

Living through COVID-19, a monumental time in history, allows you to change the script. Whether you’ve discovered you prefer being alone and binge watching your favorite show on Netflix or having some of your nearest and dearest round for a quiet takeaway, you can say no to bar crawls and nights out if you don’t fancy them. However, for those of you who want to go out but are feeling slight social or sober anxiety surrounding the event, here are my tips for you.

Change the spotlight

When going on a night out drinking, it is very easy for the focus to be solely on alcohol - the ‘pre drinks’, sharing wine with dinner, followed by a tray of shots later on in the night that you swore you wouldn’t have. When you’re not drinking or drinking less it can feel that a big part of the evening has been taken away, so my advice is to shift the focus. You could do this by spending some extra time getting ready or wearing something that makes you feel confident. This may sound simple, but this, along with your resolve to drink less or not at all, can make you feel brand new and confident.

"Now is the time to visit that restaurant you’ve had your eye on that’s an hour’s drive away – explore and enjoy."

You could also try going somewhere completely different for your night out. Not drinking will allow you to drive, so the world is your oyster! Now is the time to visit that restaurant you’ve had your eye on that’s an hour’s drive away – explore and enjoy. This may also help you avoid places that used to be your drinking spot, as that may be triggering or bring back some not-so-great memories. Start fresh and change the scenery.

Eat. Eat. Eat.

Instead of just going to a bar with friends, you could go out for dinner too. It makes the evening less about what you’re drinking and more about what you’re eating. And while we’re talking food: always eat dessert! Dessert gives you a good sugar hit which is what we tend to miss when we don’t drink alcohol.

Alcohol-free or low-alcohol options

These are great for some but not for others so please decide what will be best for you. For me they work very well, I feel involved and don’t get stuck with boring old water. For others, however, they can be triggering and therefore dangerous to their recovery. If you are cutting down or stopping drinking alcohol completely and feel it is safe for you to try alcohol-free options, then there are plenty to choose from. The percentages of ABV are as follows: alcohol-free drinks are no more than 0.05% ABV; de-alcoholised drinks (drinks which have had alcohol removed) are no more than 0.5% ABV; and low-alcohol drinks are no more than 1.2% ABV. The selection of drinks available online, in supermarkets and in bars and restaurants is growing fast, which is wonderful to see!

Whether you’re going out, staying in, cutting down or cutting alcohol from your life completely, my other piece of advice is this: do what makes you happy, be honest with those around you and they will support your decisions. Have fun and stay safe!

You can follow Katie on Instagram on @thissobergirl.