Week nine: The party's sober - not over!

Millie Gooch | May 2022 | 6 minutes

Millie Gooch, founder of the Sober Girl Society, brings us some brilliant tips on tackling Sober Spring - the three-month sabbatical off alcohol.

There’s no denying it, not drinking does change how you socialise, but it absolutely doesn’t mean that you need to hang up your dancing shoes or stop enjoying nights out altogether. Since quitting alcohol, I’ve completed everything from a sober wedding to a sober festival and here’s some tips for how I tackled them:

Choose wisely

When I was drinking, I would have gone to the opening of an envelope if it meant that I could drink alcohol but these days I’m a lot more selective with the things I attend. My blanket rule is – only agree to go to things that you think you’ll be able to enjoy without booze and if you don’t think that you will, at least only go with people whose company you know you can enjoy sober. My criteria for saying yes these days includes good non-alcoholic options, seating and snacks. If I know a party/night out won’t have them – count me out. Getting clear on your criteria for a good sober night out can be helpful.

Have an exit plan

Sometimes, try as you might, you may not be enjoying yourself and really this is true for any party whether you’re drinking or not. If you find yourself counting down the hours until you can return to the sofa with a peppermint tea, then having a pre-planned exit strategy can help. This can include knowing how you’ll say goodbye and how you’re getting home, especially if you were planning to leave with other people. I like to let one person know (usually the most sober) and then ask them to relay this information to everyone else so that I’m not trapped for an extra hour by people pleading me to stay.

Remember it's not linear

The first part of a sober night out can always be a little hairy but once the initial discomfort has passed and you’ve settled down with an alcohol-free drink in hand – you actually might start to enjoy yourself *gasp*. Nights out can get better, then worse and then better again (usually when there’s food involved). Give yourself time to relax into the situation and ride the wave before writing it off as a complete failure.

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