Until I decided to take a break from drinking I didn’t realise how much my social life revolved around alcohol.
- Catch up with the girls = long lunch with wine
- Birthday celebration = pop the champers
- Date night at a restaurant = what’s on the wine list?
I was worried that if I took a break from drinking, socialising would not be enjoyable and I’d feel like a party pooper.
It turns out that this fear, like many of the concerns I had about taking a break, was totally unwarranted.
Since choosing to ditch drinking more than a year ago I’ve been to lunches, dinners, restaurants, birthday celebrations and on holidays without drinking.
It made me realise that I wasn’t going out to drink, I was going out to catch up with people I like spending time with or to do something I enjoyed. Those things remained the same regardless of what I had in my glass.
Here are my top three tips for socialising without drinking:
Embrace alcohol-free drinks
If you are entertaining at home or visiting someone else’s home, find an alcohol-free drink that you like so that you don’t feel like you’re missing out. I have really enjoyed discovering alcohol-free wines, bubbly, spirits and beers so will always take a bottle of one of my faves.
For some people, alcohol-free versions of their favourite tipple can be too triggering so, if that’s the case for you, there are still plenty of options. Kombucha, ginger beer (the non-alcoholic version), sparkling apple juice, tonic water … there are so many options.
Choose activities that don’t involve alcohol
I like catching up with friends during a long walk at a local park or over brunch at a nearby café. We don’t need wine to catch up on everything that’s been happening in our lives. Who knew?
If you’re creative, a painting lesson or a pottery class are not only fun but you also get to take something home with you.
Even activities that may have alcohol associated with them – going to the movies (at my local cinema you can take wine into the theatre) or a concert are enjoyable without the drinking.
Plan your escape
I’ve been to a few social events that have been boozy affairs and I’ve quietly made my exit before things became too messy. When people start talking more loudly and repeating themselves, it’s my cue to leave.
When I was drinking I would have loved that scene but now it can be annoying and not very enjoyable. I generally drive to anything like this so that I can leave when I want. My partner still drinks so I let him know that if he wants to stay on he can get an Uber home but he’s generally happy to leave when I do.
There’s a saying that nothing good happens after 2am. For me that’s probably more likely to be 11pm but I’m cool with that. I know that I won’t have to face a hangover in the morning and that once things get a bit messy, the only thing I’ll miss out on are repeated conversations and overly emotional outbursts!
Socialising without drinking is not as difficult as I first feared. In fact, it’s actually better.
I no longer worry about how much I am drinking when I’m out or waking up in the morning feeling hungover and regretting anything I did or said the night before.
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