How I Socialize Without Alcohol
The thought of socializing without alcohol can be SO overwhelming. I get it. My social anxiety was actually one of the reasons I put off even trying to quit for so long. Here’ the thing, though, I was actually surprised at how easy sober socializing turned out to be. (It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, but it really was easier than I had thought it would be.)
If you are in the beginning of your alcohol free journey, I’ve put together 5 tips that can help you when you venture out to your first social event.
GO OUT WITH A “Drinking” PLAN – Before you head out for an evening of sober socializing, go out with a plan. Will you be at a social situation where everyone will be social drinking? (Hopefully, not if you’re early on in your journey, but sometimes it happens.). Bring non-alcoholic beverages for yourself. Bring MORE than you thing you’ll need, too, because I often find that I drink more of my NA drinks when I’m out with people that are drinking (or even people that aren’t drinking). I guess I still hold onto and sip on my non alcoholic drink as a way to calm my party jitters.
My favorite NA drinks are – flavored club soda, Kombucha (the GTS brand and Brew Doctor are SO yummy, a super fancy lemonade, and I also like NA beer every once in a while.)
VISUALIZE THE EVENING – Practice before you head out by visualizing the WHOLE evening. By mentally playing through the whole evening, your brain actually feels like it has already experienced the event so you are more prepared for success.
To visualize the evening, sit somewhere quiet and start playing through the whole evening. Picture yourself getting ready for the night. Then picture arriving at the event. Where will you go first? Will you check out the food or will you go around the perimeter of the crowd to see who all is there? Who will you talk to first? What will you talk to them about? Picture yourself doing all these things with a smile on and carrying yourself with confidence. Then picture that someone asks you what you’d like to drink. How will you answer them. Play through the rest of the party or event in your mind and then picture yourself saying goodbye and leaving feeling so proud of yourself for staying alcohol free.
PLAN AN ACTIVITY NOT ASSOCIATED WITH ALCOHOL – If you are in control of choosing the activity, make a plan that does not include drinking. Now, I know that sometimes this is hard because if you were like me when I first quit drinking I was suddenly realizing that all the activities I enjoyed seemed to include alcohol so you may need to branch out a little. Also, sometimes it’s not about the activity, BUT the time of day you go, so planning a lunch with someone is an easier time to avoid drinking. Here are some activities you could try that don’t put alcohol front and center and eliminate peer pressure:
Hiking, going to an exercise class, going to a museum, meet for a cup of coffee, go to a crafting night or host your own, go for a scenic drive, etc.
REHEARSE WHAT YOU’LL SAY – At some point someone is going to ask you to have a drink. Before heading out, rehearse how you’ll answer. Now, I may lose you here, but this seriously works. Practice in a mirror. Just pretend you’re in middle school again and lip syncing to you favorite song (Was that only me??). Back to what I was saying, look in the mirror and practice saying, “No, thanks. I’m not drinking tonight.” Or even bolder, “No, thanks. I actually quit drinking.” Now, if you go with the bold route, you are going to need to rehearse what you say next. When they ask, “Why?” I go with something along the lines of, “I took a break from drinking, and actually found out that I really enjoy life without drinking alcohol. I know it seems crazy, but I’ve figured out that alcohol just wasn’t working for me.” After that, they either ask me more about it or leave it be. 90% of the time, they leave it be.
BE CONFIDENT – Before I go to any social event (or even just hang out with friends I used to drink with), I work to pump myself up beforehand. I think of ALL the things I have accomplished since I quit drinking. I remember that drinking has actually changed my physical appearance – my skin and eyes are brighter, and I’ve lost some inches off my waist. I also remember that without drinking I will have a cleared head so I can communicate more easily and even tell better jokes. When I remind myself of all these things, it gives me a confidence boost, and when I’m feeling confident, it’s easier for me to stay on track with my alcohol free life.
I hope these tips help you the next time you’re headed out with friends. Which tip do you think you’ll use first? What is a tip you have for socializing without alcohol that you would add to the list.