Can You Answer This Riddle?"
People at reddit share their experiences of social life without involving alcohol.
In a word: sport.
Being sober while your friends get hammered is fucking awful. If you want to be sober, hang out with people who don't drink to excess.
If you are of the nerdy / geek persuasion your local board game shop can be an excellent social outlet. Good friends , rolling dice together . No alcohol required.
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 we're constantly trying to cajole me into drinking again. And when I didn't they'd say I was being a bitch. I always told them my drinking or not drinking should have zero impact on your 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.
It depends, honestly. You could find new friends, or you could be the designated driver from here on out. If you decide to meet up at a bar, order a ginger ale or a coke with a lime wedge if you're looking for a soft drink that looks like it's boozy so nobody gives you any shit for not drinking. Although, if someone gives you shit for not drinking, do you really want to be their friend? That's your call. You can still do all the things you did under the influence without having to drink. You just wont feel as confident or careless. Fake it if it helps. I don't drink anymore. I became the DD to everyone I know who does drink, and it's gotten me a lot of favors over the years. And watching your friends get hammered while you stay sober is really, really entertaining. You will still have those hilarious "dumb shit we did while drinking" stories, you can still go to nightclubs or dive bars or house parties. Ten years ago I would have thought the future me that wrote this was a total fucking square, good lord.
I used to drink heavily. I was always the drunk one at parties. I got sick of always making an ass of myself so I started volunteering as the designated driver. People raised a few eyebrows but no one ever really gave me shit over it. After a while people got used to the idea of me not being blackout drunk all 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. Then I realised how much easier it actually was for me to socialise sober. I used to be awkward and anxious and think I needed the alcohol. Once I got a little confidence I realised 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 and smart and cool and respected me when I wasn't acting like a drunk idiot. I have way more friends now as the mostly sober kid than I ever did as the drunk one.
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 an ass of myself every time 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 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 instead of 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.
A great alternative to sports would be dancing. Very sociable, lots of fun, and you have a great confidence booster since you have to be willing to ask people to dance and be willing to get over the fact that you're going to suck for a bit. My favorite dancing is swing dancing, since it's got some of the best beginner friendly dance styles, and the culture is very open to social events, unlike a lot of ballroom dancing which is more formal. Swing dancing is also a much more relaxed style and it's more fun (to me) since you can improvise stuff with it.
I don't drink, 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 like crap the next day.
How cool of a social experiment it would be to throw a party with fake alcohol and liquor and see how many people act drunk. The Snozberries taste like.....Snozberries?
Would depend very much upon the age/drinking experience of the attendees. High schoolers? For sure there will be a bunch of folks acting drunk. 20 somethings? Everyone is just going to be confused as to why they feel nothing.
You have to change your views on what "social gatherings" mean. No more bars. No more clubs. That is not the lifestyle you're going to lead from here on out if you're an alcoholic. Stay away from those places. A good alternative is to start exploring the morning/day time social scene. Brunches. Outdoor stuff. Travel. Right now I'm in the highlands of Guatemala, looking over a gorgeous lake. I'm hiking later, and will also take a boat ride to a nearby town. I'll have coffee, strike up some convo at a cafe, and be back home to get to bed early and do it all over again tomorrow. Stay away from the clubs, bars, and parties - at least for a while. You are trying to get away from that lifestyle. Don't stew in it.
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Victor O. Samuel, founder of DOZENWORLD and its subsidiaries, is a writer, music composer and graphic designer. In his spare time, he explores the world with his friends.
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