Sober People Share How To Have A Successful Social Life Without Consuming Alcohol.
Casual alcohol consumption is fine, but when people start binge drinking, a night out can turn into a "blackout" fest. One in six Americans binge drink about four times a month, consuming more than eight drinks, and it's most common in young adults ages 18-34. The following AskReddit users share why they chose an alternative lifestyle that doesn't involve alcohol, but the ability to still go out and have a good time.
Source list available at the end.
I hate to say it, but I had to find a new social circle that wasn't into the party scene. They weren't willing to accept that I was trying to make a change, and they were constantly trying to cajole me into drinking again. When I didn't, they would say that I was being a spoilsport. I always told them that my drinking, or not drinking, should have zero impact on their level of fun, but they disagreed. I could hang out with one to two people from the group, but not all of them at once. So sadly, it meant that I had to find a new social circle to roll with.
I used to drink heavily. I was always the drunk one at parties. I got sick of always making a fool of myself, so I started volunteering as the designated driver.
People raised a few eyebrows, but no one ever really gave me trouble over it. After a while, people got used to the idea of me not being blackout drunk all of the time. Now, I only drink when it's an occasion, and I don't drink nearly as much.
At first, I thought it was going to suck being the sober one in a club, or not being included in drinking games at house parties. And at first, it did a little, but then I realized how much easier it actually was for me to socialize sober. I used to be awkward and anxious and think that I needed the alcohol. Once I got a little confidence, I realized that while I was sober, I could actually make real connections with people (that I couldn't when I was drunk). People actually thought I was funny, smart, cool, and they respected me when I wasn't acting like a drunk fool. I have way more friends now as the mostly sober kid than I ever did as the drunk one.
I did something similar, but without quitting drinking entirely. I realized one day (as if it were a huge epiphany) that my eyes felt so droopy. My mind just felt so dull. I think I'm a relatively awesome day-to-day person, but I didn't feel that way at all. It confused me that I had never noticed this about my drunk self. I had no confidence. I was just dumb and wearing a thousand mile stare that I couldn't shake. The lights were on, but no one was home.
I'd stumbled through all these countless parties and bars thinking I needed to go overboard to get more confidence, more fun, etc.. but it really does do the exact opposite after a certain threshold. After about 6 or 12 drinks (differs per person obviously) you have nothing interesting to say, your wit disappears, and you are no longer clever. Other people start to notice those droopy eyes, and you look ugly. You sound like a dullard, and you're unattractive!
So, I've upgraded my life (and my wallet), and now I have a 5 drink limit on a night I'm out with friends. Maybe that's a lot for some, but 10 to 15 drinks used to be normal for me on a crazy night. What is most surprising to me is how good I feel when it's not a race to drink more. Slipping warmly and slowly into that 5 drink jacket really does make me feel more confident and social, but my eyes don't have to droop. I'm certainly over the .08, but my mind is sharp, I'm funny, and loose, but I'm clever and not just a clumsy fool. There's little to no hangover. Probably the best perk of all, talking to women is SO much easier that it's mind blowing when you're on your fourth beer vs your eleventh.
So yeah, I'd recommend to anyone who is hesitant to stop drinking entirely.. just try keeping it light. Cut your consumption by a third and marvel at your newfound greatness!
My own self "identity" was as that "party guy" who got everyone messed up and was always messed up. I was like this for just over 7 years (especially in college). I surrounded myself with people who also were drunkards, or willing to get reckless and blackout with me a lot ("blackout buddies" as I would called them). Over the past 6 months, I have come to realize that I have a problem, and I don't want to be "that guy" anymore. I'm tired of looking like a fool and just feeling like complete waste for the days after a long binge drinking session on the weekends. It has been one of the hardest things to realize and to do because my life was based around drinking and partying. It was practically for so long that being sober is new to me, and I have to practically recreate my self-image and thought process.
A month ago, I decided to go completely sober for 60 days (no alcohol and/or drugs). It has been quite the journey so far where I am still exposing myself to social drinking surrounding, however, I am using techniques such as tonic and lime type drinks to ease my way into this new mentality of not drinking. I have slowly phased myself away from the "friends" that were my "blackout buddies" and have started to try and pick up new hobbies such as photography, biking, and exposing myself to nature more often. I have informed all of the people that I care about that I have stopped drinking for these 60 days to ensure for myself that drinking is a want and not a need in my life. Almost everyone understands and supports me, and if they don't then I try to practically remove them from my life. Over the past 37 days, I have been called "no fun" and other countless insults a countless number of times when exposing myself to bars and when ordering from the bartender a tonic and lime (or just a water). It hasn't been enjoyable to say the least, however, I want to be sure that I am able to say no in the element of a bar, instead of just hiding per say from it all for 60 days.
Honestly, I am not a fan of being the designated driver for drunk people, and I found that one out quite quickly. I am not sure if I will continue drinking, but I understand more or less that I don't want to get to those points anymore and turn into that "party guy," maybe to just have one drink. My goal is to ensure that I don't need alcohol, I just want it.
I'm someone who doesn't drink and also doesn't like to DD for my drunk friends. My best advice is to find "activity friends," people to socialize with through the things that you do together. It's the same way that you'll end up meeting people much of the time, but the trick is to pick activities that you can do with someone over and over again.
For me, rock climbing and gaming are two hobbies that I've built some of my social network around. I'll meet people through these activities and get to know them, and eventually, we'll start hanging out in other contexts. Also, you can figure out what threshold of people and alcohol consumption you don't mind being around. For me, I don't mind being around 4 or 5 of my friends who are drinking, but I get annoyed very quickly at large gatherings. It took some time for my friends to realize that I wasn't going to drink with them, but they're used to it now and rarely try to pressure me to drink.
I guess what I'm saying is that alcohol is a common interest a lot of people share, but there's no reason that you can't do the same with other interests. Also, it's okay to be around alcohol and not consume it. You just need to stick to your guns for a bit until you set the expectation that you won't be drinking with them.
I'd like to add that it really depends on why you want an alcohol-free social life. For me, it was the realization that I made a fool of myself every time that I drank, so I'd have more fun if I didn't. That realization still holds true 10 years later. For me, having fun is the reason why I don't drink. This doesn't stop me from having a glass with the buddies though. Mine is just alcohol-free.
If you're coming from a different angle, be it booze-troubles, meds that can't be taken with alcohol, or perhaps a new set of friends who frown on drinking, you need to focus on why, instead of, the absence of alcohol. Go into your new social habits with a focus on the new fun setting/activity/people rather than thinking, "I do this instead of getting drunk."
You don't need to change your whole life, just shift your focus a bit. Smaller changes (but real changes) are easier to maintain.
I began to ride motorcycles when I was 18. It has become my life passion. Drinking and riding would certainly kill me, or at least get me in jail, so I don't do it.
Then, when you have this hobby, find others who love it EVEN MORE THAT YOU. That is the important part I think. Learn from those around you. Find your brotherhood. Make your goals clear to your friends.
Enjoy a life that doesn't require drugs or alcohol. A life that requires getting smashed or high to have any enjoyment is worthless because it renders you worthless during it. Enjoy everything (even your hobby) within moderation.
The only thing that has changed since I stopped drinking is that I don't drink. I still go out a lot. I don't spend nearly as much money, and I'm never hung over. I'm happier. I still have all of the same friends, and my social life is infinitely better.
My solution at the moment is to suggest activities within bars. So rather than "Let's go to the pub," I'll suggest going to the pool/snooker club, or watching a sport somewhere, then when I'm not drinking for some reason, it's seen as a little more acceptable. Pub quizzes are also a good one. I also play a decent amount of pick up sports like touch rugby. I'm trying to get into handball or baseball. I host my own "film nights" as well. Tell people to bring what they want (usually charge entry at a bag of popcorn).
It was sad that when I started doing this though and saying, "How about not a bar" and the resounding silence when everyone realized that that was pretty much all that they ever did.
I don't drink, and I never have (I'm 20, drinking age in my country is 16). Not drinking is awesome man, just give yourself the one rule: "Everything is funny. Everything is amusing." Once you give yourself permission to feel good without alcohol, all kinds of little things pump you up. It makes you laugh when the DJ makes a weird transition, when a girl is acting bitchy, when people are doing random stuff. You don't need alcohol. Create the healthy habit of making yourself happy. You don't need anything. Oh and you won't feel terrible the next day.
Find new restaurants and introduce friends to discover them with you together. It can be just one friend at first. After you know a lot of restaurants, you can even make it a topic to talk to new friends about.
Let me pull those drunk goggles off your face and show you the reality here. Bars suck. They are loud, dirty places filled with people having fairly boring discussions that they are only really enjoying because they are drunk. Hell, the whole experience only works because they are all drunk. The food sucks on top of all of that.
As someone who does not do a lot of drinking, your first step in having a better social life is getting away from bars entirely. The whole thing is a waste of time. Think of socializing as a way to actually connect with people, to learn about them, to enjoy yourself, and an excuse to explore the world around you. Research local sports leagues, museums, and weird local flair.
We are entering summer, so it's a perfect time to get into a lot of outdoor activities that you can do like hiking, mountain climbing, water sports, etc. Be exhausted during the day, so that by the end of it, you will want to go home and chill out with a movie and not go to a bar. Hell, invite friends over to watch it with you (maybe the ones you went out hiking with earlier).
The point is, your first step is rejecting bar life entirely.
A large part of my problem with drinking was because I didn't like socialising sober. Which meant that I didn't like socialising. I accepted this fact and now socialise a lot less.
I think part of quitting drinking is facing up to facts about yourself. I am not that big into people and that is okay. It's just the way that I am. I have accepted that about myself.
I don't drink, and I'm pretty damn happy with my social life. I guess the thing that keeps me away from alcohol is that my father and grandparents drank a lot. It's "already programmed into my brain" that when I take the first sip, I will keep wanting more. Even if it's not true, I'd never want to do it because of how I've seen it ruin other people's lives, and I don't just want to throw my money away.
Find a group of friends that don't drink. It may be hard, but there's people out there for you. When you find that group of friends, just do fun things together like travel, go to the movies, LAN parties to play one big game of Civilization V, anything that doesn't involve drinking.
I have found that alcohol is definitely not needed for enjoyment at parties or social gatherings. I have been sober for 15 years and simply enjoy conversing with people at parties and events because I get to watch them become inebriated. I also get to say ludicrous things to people who are really drunk because they have very little chance of remembering anything. It is very enlightening to engage in this kind of play.
I quit drinking for 4 1/2 years. I still went out to clubs to go dancing, went to parties, etc. If you need alcohol to feel relaxed and social then you're just going to have to train yourself to be those things without it. It may take a while and some practice. Fake it till you make it. I found that it really wasn't that hard, and I'm a pretty hardcore introvert. It'll help you build confidence that's for sure. Some people will make comments about it, but you have to just shrug them off. Drinking is fine, but some people put way too much emphasis on getting drunk in order to have fun. I definitely prefer to remember what I did the night before and to not have a hangover. Go out there and do everything that people do while drinking, just don't drink. Hell, I even eventually worked up the courage to dance in night clubs stone cold sober. That was a big one for me. You just kind of let go and let yourself get into it. Learn not to care what other people think because all those other people are probably drunk anyway and totally focused on themselves.
In one word: sports.
I haven't had a drink in my whole life. It's not even a issue in my social life. The friends that I have had for years know that I don't drink, and sometimes, they joke about that, but they never give me a hard time about it. The new people that I meet, well they meet me already knowing that I don't drink, so it's not really a problem either. Whenever someone new keeps on pushing me to drink, I just tell him a very sad history about how I used to be an alcoholic and I lost everything, or I also tell them that in my religion it is forbidden to drink (and then create a history about a really weird religion). My friends just laugh and are probably the ones who insists with that the drinking stop.
Now, I think the most difficult age not to drink is 15-18 when you want to be cool, especially in front of the ladies (it's even harder to say no thanks). I know that, but at times, you have learn how to say, "No" and not do whatever everyone else is doing. It gives you a little character and makes you a little bit stronger. In college, it is not that hard to say, "No, thanks."
There are a few time when not drinking is a problem. For example, I like to go and watch sport matches in a bar. A couple of times, I ask for a coke, and they have told me that if I'm not going to drink beer or something more expensive then I have to go. It sucks, but if you think about it, it's not really my problem, it's theirs.
Finally, I have a little advice. I don't drink, but my friends do. Sometimes (especially in the past), I really enjoyed to go out with them, but when we would go out to a bar, they would get super drunk and live in a fantasy world. The next day, I would tell them about their drunk history, and how they got the prettiest girl in the bar, or how they got into a huge fight. Even when I knew that the girl was not that attractive and the fight was just two drunk guys, you let them have their big moments and agree to seeing everything (that the girls was a model and that he kicked everyone's butt).
First, gaming groups. I'm on a college campus, so we've got clubs for League of Legends, Smash Bros, (insert game of your choice), etc. Finding groups like that is a cool way to find people who share your interests, and I think you'd find them primarily in high schools and colleges. I haven't seen the grad life yet, so I can't speak for the post-college thing.
Second, you can meet other gamers by going where gamers go. I'm mainly a console gamer, but like many gamers, I've found that I like a wide variety of games. I've gone to a few Friday Night Magic events and met some really cool people. Things like comic-cons, pre-release events, and basically anything else that gamers would show up to are good places to show up. Ultimately, even if you don't meet anyone, you'll still have fun because it's a thing you enjoy.
Lastly, you've got to do more than game. If you met someone who did nothing but farm beets, well then you would have met Dwight Schrute. Not a lot of people want to be friends with someone who is one dimensional. I think it's important for people to cultivate a variety of interests, so that they're not a Dwight. It helps if these things are more social activities, but ultimately it comes down to something you enjoy. These new activities become ways for them to meet new people, or to translate your gamer friends into long-term friends. If you want to help your gamer friend here, offer to try new things with him/her. Often times, the hardest thing is taking the first steps to do something, and you can help pull other people out of their shells by doing things with them.
Post are edited for clarity.
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