Having fun on a sober night in

Lauren Booker | January 2023 | 8 minutes

What on earth do you do on an evening in when you’re not drinking? You do other things, that’s what. Fun things; things you’ve been meaning to get round to; new things; relaxing things.

Now that you’ve got some extra free time, you can start to explore ways to spend it. If you’re usually too tired to do any kind of exploring by the end of the working day, you’ll be surprised at how much more energy you have once your sleep patterns improve and you’re not still a wee bit hung-over from the night before. If you just want a night (or a day) in without booze, here are seven things to try.

1) Listen to music

Get out your old vinyl, dust off your mix tapes, polish your CDs, fire up Spotify, sit back and just listen. Music is so often the backing track to our lives that we don’t think to stop and make it the main event. Why not spend an evening putting a playlist together? It might be a collection of calming tunes, or an evening of nostalgia with the soundtrack from your life. Either way, listening to music is a great way to relax.

2) . . . Or make music yourself!

If you already play an instrument, you could spend an evening getting back into practice. An hour or two a couple of times a week will soon have you strumming, drumming, blowing or tinkling the ivories like a rock star. If you don’t already play but have always wanted to, you can pick up a bargain instrument on eBay, watch a few ‘how to’ YouTube videos and off you go. After all, that’s how Justin Bieber got started.

3) Garden glory

This is one of those things that you either love or hate. If you’re a passionate gardener, you’re probably out there already on a regular basis. If not, I’m not suggesting you get all Monty Don; just plant a few bulbs in a window box or sprinkle some herb seeds in containers. If you don’t have the space or a garden of your own, why not get involved in a community garden near you? Remember to water your seedlings regularly – they do moist, not dry – and by the time your dry month is over, you should see your plants starting to grow. Symbolic, isn’t it?

4) Pamper yourself

Why not treat yourself to the whole shebang? Give yourself a manicure, a pedicure, face-mask and a mineral soak in the bath. Stick an intensive moisture treatment on your hair and let your worries drift away. You could call a friend for mutual pampering and a chat whilst you sip herbal tea. Believe me, blokes, this is for you too.

5) Get creative

Maybe you can knit, maybe you like to whittle, maybe you’ve never tried either but would like to give it a go. You don’t have to be brilliant at it, you just have to enjoy the process. There’s something deeply satisfying about creating something from scratch, and I don’t mean a vodka martini. Try out different creative arts to see what you enjoy. Don’t fancy something creative, but do like the idea of learning? Check out the wide range of (free) courses available online.

6) Spring cleaning

OK, not everyone will find this relaxing but it can certainly be cathartic and rewarding. Not only are you creating extra space, you can donate anything you don’t want to charity for that feel-good factor or raise a bit of cash selling it online. Time passes quickly once you start delving into your hoard of forgotten items and you won’t even think about drinking once you’re up to your eyeballs in old lampshades, bicycle chains and inflatable dolphins.

This text was adapted from Try Dry®: the Official Guide to a Month Off Booze, which you can buy in stores or online here!