Staying alcohol-free at social events can be daunting, but be open to the new experience and own it
Be clear about why youre abstaining
The most recent survey on adult drinking habits in Great Britain found that as of 2015, 29% of 16- to 24-year-olds do not drink alcohol an increase of 18% from 2005. With so many young people abstaining from drinking altogether, there has concurrently been a rise in the sober-curious movement, as coined by author Ruby Warrington in her 2019 book of the same name.
The first step is to get really clear about why you are abstaining, Warrington says. Maybe youre sick of hangovers, want to perform better at work, or have a health and fitness goal. It can help to write these reasons down somewhere you can access them easily, to remind yourself when you feel your resolve wavering.
Embrace sober firsts
Once youve established your reasoning, Warrington says that you should continue to attend social functions, seeing them as sober firsts. Weddings can be extra challenging, as these are some of our booziest get-togethers, she says. Go into these and any other sober firsts with an open mind, and stay curious about what the experience will be like sober. If youre used to drinking, staying sober can even be a different kind of altered state with all the surprises, the highs and the lows.
Plan your alcohol substitutions
With the alcohol-free market expanding, and some estimates anticipating it to grow by a third in the next three years, there are plenty of options available to replace your usual tipple of choice at a social function. Warrington recommends a tonic with bitters as being more grown up than ordering a Coke, while a record 57m was spent on non-alcoholic beers in Britain over the past year.
Dont apologise for not drinking
Kate Bee, the founder of Sober School a sobriety training course for women emphasises the need to be confident about your decision. Really own it and never apologise for not drinking, she says. Instead, smile brightly and say: Im not drinking at the moment and I cant believe how much Im enjoying it. Even if you have to fake that enthusiasm its worth it. Its much harder for people to pressure you to drink if youre happy being alcohol-free.
Share your experience with friends
When undergoing such a potentially life-altering change, it is important to discuss what you are doing with friends and gain their support, according to Warrington. Let your friends know about your journey as that can be one of the most powerful means of encouragement, she says. And when they see youre capable of it, they might decide to try it for themselves, too.