At this time of year, the question about how to have fun without alcohol usually pops up and you begin to worry that because you are not drinking then you will be no fun and people will think you are boring and you might even worry that you won’t have a good time yourself.
Actually, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sobriety is the least boring thing in the world but because we’ve had the association that alcohol does indeed mean fun for so long, it’s really scary and almost impossible to imagine ever having fun again when you stop drinking. And that is often what keeps us stuck in the cycle of drinking – we can’t bear the thought of becoming a sober bore.
Life is absolutely fabulous without alcohol but until you get the pleasure of living it for yourself, it seems so far out of reach.
That’s why I wanted to share with you my best advice on how to have fun without alcohol.
This is the most important thing to work on. We have been conditioned to believe that alcohol means fun, therefore when we think about not drinking we think it means no fun at all. This is not true.
If you go out thinking that you will be boring or that the night will be dull, that you won’t be able to connect with anybody or relax and have good time or let loose and enjoy yourself – then that is probably what will happen.
However, going out with a positive attitude, knowing that you don’t need or want to drink and that you will have a wonderful time will take the pressure off enormously, helping you to relax and enjoy the event just as it is. I know that socializing sober can be terrifying, especially at first. If you are worrying about this check out my YouTube video on how to survive the party sober, which will give you some useful tools and strategies to get through the occasion.
Remember that party at New Year or the Christmas from 3 years ago when you got drunk and had such a fabulous time? Do you, really?
That’s the thing with drinking, it stops our ability to form memories. So even if you didn’t have a total black out, chances are that there will be huge chunks of time that you don’t really remember.
A hangover from hell and not being able to remember what happened the night before are not signs of fun or a good night.
It is easy to romanticise the thought of having a few drinks to get into the party mood and be all festive or thinking that just a couple will help you to have fun and be more chatty and social, but the reality, and your past experiences will tell you that it never works out like that.
At this time of year it can be so easy to get caught up with what everyone else is doing, there is Fear of Missing Out, self doubt, or the temptation to just start again in the New Year. If you are feeling this way then please do check out this post about why sobriety is the best gift you can give yourself.
Just where is the fun in a drunken night that you can’t remember followed by a crippling hangover? Remember that it is never ever about the alcohol, it is about the people and the atmosphere.
Rethink your idea of fun
What is fun anyway? If you are like me, then the idea of a room full of people who are drinking is about as far removed from fun as you can get. But what does fun really mean for you? Is it parties, socializing, or dinner? Or is it spending time with your kids, watching a game, the cinema, long walks in the woods or along the beach? Is it connecting on a more personal level with people or enjoying a hobby? Is it working out, reading, or cooking?
Fun should be something that makes you feel good, not that which makes you feel anxious, uncomfortable or guilty, or full of regret – this is not fun.
Take some time now and really think about what it is that you like doing for fun.
When you really know what it is that makes you happy and that you enjoy then it is up to you to take responsibility for yourself and do more of these activities. By adding more fun activities to your life you are increasing your happiness and making the desire to drink or indeed the need to drink much less.
Quitting drinking made me realize just how much I loved spending time outdoors which I talk about in this video and I just didn’t do enough of it before. Also being a sober mum and spending time with my kids, and I mean properly being with them, is so much fun. Spending proper time together and laughing with them until you cry is far more fulfilling than sitting on the sofa ignoring them or getting cross with them for no reason.
Yes, it takes an effort to actually get up and do something but the rewards are so worth it. It really is up to you.
Call a friend for a coffee date, do a bit of ‘netwalking’ join that class you’ve always wanted to join, take the kids to a show, an event a museum or just swimming – anything to broaden your horizons and open your mind. You’ll be surprised at just how much fun you will see come into your life but you have to make the effort.
Give it a go
By getting out there with a positive outlook and trying new things you will start to learn more about yourself and reconnect with what makes you happy, brings you joy and really adds fun to your life.
You will probably find that some activities you only ever did when drinking like concerts or barbecues or eating out and parties are actually even better without alcohol and you will learn that there is nothing to miss about drinking at all. You will also probably realize that there are some things that you don’t enjoy – drinking or not, and that’s OK!
Quitting drinking is not just about removing alcohol from your life, it’s about living a life you deserve, a life you love and don’t need to escape from.
What do you like to do for fun? What are your tips for how to have fun without alcohol? Let me know in the comments below.