Ten Keys to a Happy Sober You!

The Power of a Plan - Sober & Social Tips.

Jun 02, 2022

One of the main reasons people worry about when they stop drinking is the fear that it will be boring and that they will never have fun again, so it’s little wonder that summer party time can trigger this fear. The BBQ fires up, the Wine Witch has her flip-flops on, and staying up till 4am at a festival three nights in a row suddenly seems THE BEST IDEA EVER (even though we will feel like death the next day).

Over the last few years there has been a full-on sober and sober-curious revolution.There are great alcohol-free drink alternatives, people are more open to people cutting down or stopping drinking altogether and there are so many sober groups that being sober no longer looks like a social death sentence.
Having said this, high days and holidays (bank holidays/birthdays/cultural celebrations) can still feel heavily drenched in boozy triggers. They have a particular mix of feelings as if it’s time out of normal life when normal rules no longer apply. It’s all about having a plan and we like an acronym so we made up another one.     

If you have any concerns whatsoever about a social occasion and how it might trigger your drinking, make sure you PLAN for it fully in advance:

Prepare Be it a holiday or a party, know what AF drinks there will be, know who will be there, plan what you want to wear and feel like, prepare for the tricky times mentally: the airport, the plane, the first evening (if you get through those things you are winning!). Prepare activities that are not based around booze, like party games or sports activities.

Walk yourself mentally through any event and ask: What am I wearing? What do I smell like? Who am I talking to? What do I drink? What time do I leave? How do I leave? How do I feel when I get home? What do I have planned the next day? How do I reward myself?

Arriving home from a holiday or big social event is often an unexpected trigger, so make sure you have a quiet restorative day planned afterwards with lots of self-care and well-deserved sober treats to manage the social hangover.

Learn Think back to previous events and what you have learned from them. What is like for you in these heightened situations? How easy has it been to manage your drinking before? What are your triggers? How can you protect yourself? Take quit lit and podcasts with you on holiday to keep you engaged in your alcohol-free choice.

Aspire Keep future-focused: play it forward, and think about how proud you will be as you become a morning bird who savours the empty beach or gets up and goes to yoga when everyone else is in bed with a hangover.

Notice Stay curious about your environment, yourself and your experience.
What’s different about it when you’re not drinking? Are there new places to discover? People to talk to? Foods to eat? What do you notice about your mood and your needs?

It can be really useful, especially in the early days, to flip your thinking around what it means to be social when you are on holiday. To focus on mornings – breakfasts and brunches, sunrises and sports, walks and papers and lying in the sun without a hangover. Some people might see being sober as a state of deprivation because we don’t do that one thing. But, in fact, it is the exact opposite – because we don’t do that one thing we get to do EVERYTHING else. Rather than waiting all day for the drinking to start, or getting over the pain of the night before, we get to have the whole day ahead of us. We get to benefit from, and be present in, every moment. At a wedding you get to feel the love, at a party you get to actually connect with people, on holiday you ACTUALLY RELAX!




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