Many people associate partying with drinking alcohol or taking drugs. It’s a time where many lose their inhibitions, dance without worrying about how they look, and talk to new people.
If you are beginning a new life of sobriety, you may feel that you have to give up this part of your life, especially if you feel on a different wavelength from those around you.
The good news is that you can have a great time partying sober. The idea may feel intimidating, but with some tips and advice, you can go into the party atmosphere feeling confident, clear-headed, and ready for a fun time.
Do You Feel Ready?
It’s important to remember that you don’t need to rush into attending social events. You don’t want to be there feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and vulnerable. You are allowed to take your recovery at your own pace – there is no need to go to an event if you don’t feel ready.
Go Somewhere Worthwhile
This is key. If you are partying, you may find it difficult to have a good time if you go somewhere you don’t think you’ll enjoy. Unfortunately, if you aren’t having a good time, you may be tempted to turn to substances to enhance your mood.
When under the influence, it’s sometimes easier to go to parties where the music isn’t what you usually enjoy listening to or to events with people who don’t make you feel so good.
Attending any old dinner party, celebration, or house party may make you feel uncomfortable if substances are being used and abused, especially if you are surrounded by people you don’t feel so relaxed around. Try to just go to the events that celebrate people you care for and that you genuinely want to spend time with.
Plan an Escape Route
Although you may not think you need an escape route, make sure that you have a plan of action to leave an event safely and exit at whatever time you want to.
If you are a driver, drive to an event to have the freedom to leave whenever you choose. If not, make sure you have a taxi fare and taxi numbers ready or know a safe walking or cycling route home. It’s important not to try to test yourself. If you feel tempted by drugs or alcohol at all, leave immediately. Your sobriety is the most important thing to protect.
Bring a Sober Friend
Asking a sober friend to attend an event with you will help you feel confident and protected from relapse. If you feel tempted to use substances, they will likely stop you in your tracks. They may also encourage you to leave the event or explain to someone why you aren’t drinking or taking drugs. Knowing that there is someone next to you who will help you out if things get tough will help you to feel safe and less alone in this.
If your friends aren’t up for a sober night with you, have someone you can text to check in with throughout the night. This can help to keep you motivated.
Attend a Meeting Before
If you feel unsure or intimidated by an event, attend an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting before. They can offer advice and support that will equip you with the necessary information to deal with certain situations or triggers.
These groups can also help you determine whether going to a party is a safe thing for you to do or if perhaps you should wait a bit longer before attending an event.
Choose a Tactical Drink
Choosing a drink that could pass for a drink containing alcohol may help you avoid awkward and annoying questions about why you are sober. Having an alcohol-free drink in your hands also provides an easy get-out if someone asks if you would like something to drink, as you can say that you have one already.
This is the most important part – make sure you are enjoying yourself and having a good time. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you don’t enjoy one night, it doesn’t mean that you won’t enjoy another. However, if it all feels too overwhelming and stressful just now, perhaps waiting until you feel ready is the best idea.
Trust your gut instinct, and remember that plenty of people can party sober.