Clean and Sober
Many adults and young adults alike reach a point in their lives where they decide to cut back on alcohol and drugs.
Each person has their own reasons, but regardless of the WHY, the HOW can be difficult for just about anyone.
Aside from the biological responses to withdrawal, drinking and using controlled substances can become a daily habit, one that you might miss when it’s no longer part of your life.
Making matters even worse, many people equate socializing with mass amounts of drinking.
So how can you stay sober and still spend time with friends who may or may not still drink themselves?
For one, you’ll need to make it clear to your friends that you’ve been trying to stay sober, and if they really care about you, they’ll respect your choice and not pressure you into partaking.
You can also explore fun sober group activities, which will let you and your buddies have a great time without waking up hungover the next morning.
Below, we’ve gathered four great activities for you and your friends to check out. If you find that you’re having trouble staying sober even in these safe settings, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your loved ones or a professional.
If you happen to be a sophisticated type, then why not use this as an opportunity to become a bit of a foodie?
No matter where you live, there are bound to be some new and interesting restaurants for you and your friends to check out.
When you have some free time, search around local blogs and magazine sites to find spots that look like they offer something you’d enjoy.
Once you have a few, start sending links around to your friends to see if they’d be interested in setting aside a day to visit.
After a few outings, you may even have your own supper club going.
The best part? Friends who drink can still order a cocktail or a glass of wine, but alcohol won’t have the overwhelming presence that it would in a bar or a club.
Many people choose to get sober to help maintain a healthy lifestyle. Socializing with friends by meeting up for a nice hike is a great way to get healthy while enjoying yourself at the same time.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a town that has great parks and trails closeby, then you may even be able to set up a weekly hike.
If you’re looking for a more challenging route, then online forums and state tourist websites can be a great resource for finding great hiking locales.
Ask your friends whether they’d be interested in taking a day trip. This healthy habit could lead to some of your favorite memories of the year.
Everyone loves seeing a good concert, and when there’s so much happening on stage, you might not be as tempted to have a drink during the show.
In fact, it’s often inconvenient to drink at a concert as it has a habit of distracting from the performance.
Concerts are always more fun when you have some friends along. Just don’t forget that you can’t always be the one to choose who the group is going to see. Stay open to your friends’ recommendations and do your best to appreciate their favorite music.
Dinner parties are a great option when you and your friends are getting tired of spending nights out on the town. These smaller, quieter gatherings can be the perfect way to decompress and share casual conversations without having to shout over crowd noise.
Try to keep your dinner party to 10 people or less. If you want an even more casual feel, arrange for a buffet-style dinner or something easy and portable like make-your-own wraps or tacos.
Make a public playlist on the music streaming app of your choice and let the invitees add their own songs, then try to guess who added which song.
Dinner parties can help remind friends how much they enjoy spending time with each other. You’ll have a great time without even feeling the urge to drink.
Be Careful at …
While there are plenty of fun sober activities for groups of people, there are also a few settings that might serve up an extra dose of temptation when it comes to drinking and other forms of substance abuse.
You can create your own limits of where you can and cannot spend your free time, but it’s still a good idea to be extra cautious in these settings.
Bars can be difficult for anyone trying to remove themselves from drinking habits and drinking culture. Many are designed to be as friendly and welcoming as possible, encouraging patrons to stay as long as they want, spending more money in the process.
If you do find yourself in a bar with a group of friends, urge them to sit in the full-service area, if there is one. This will make it easier to focus on your food and your friends, rather than on the cocktail list.
Nightclubs and drinking are two things that go hand-in-hand. You may even find yourself in a position where other clubgoers or alcohol brand reps are handing out free drinks.
For those who have been sober for several years, this might not be especially tempting, but for someone who has only recently quit drinking, it can be a nightmare.
It also doesn’t help that clubs aren’t especially interesting or enjoyable for sober people.
Office Holiday Parties
Traditionally, office holiday parties and special events are guaranteed to include heavy drinking.
Sure, larger companies tend to enforce rules that keep these parties as clean as possible, but you may also find yourself being dragged along to an informal office party with your favorite coworkers.
Depending on who you’re with, you may not want to share that you’re sober with your coworkers, which is understandable.
At the same time, it will be difficult to avoid drinking alongside your office-mates.
In this situation, you’ll want an ally. Decide who you’re closest to at work, then quietly explain that you’re not drinking right now. They’ll be willing to help you avoid direct questions about it and even change the subject during a tricky conversation.