How To Be Sober at the Party
Whether you’re the DD, taking a break from drinking, or have been sober for 10 years, abstaining from alcohol at the party is always a thing. Here’s how to navigate, bb.
- Rehearse your story.
You’ll most likely want to qualify why you’re not drinking. I promise. I’ve done the dead eye “no,” to being offered a drink and then giving a “no” follow-up, just staring blankly until people turn away. It gets awkward. Have a reason. It can be as easy as, “I’m not drinking tonight,” “I’m taking a break,” or “actually, I don’t drink, thanks.” You’re going to want to know what you’re going to say when it comes up, beforehand. So figure it out. Maybe even practice saying it out loud? It’ll make this SO much easier.
2. Have a game plan.
Even before I stopped drinking, I had to have a game plan for some parties. Say its Pride and you *have* to go to the party because you’re gay and it’s a requirement for renewing your gay card. Or your friend is DJ’ing for the first time and you want to support. Maybe you paid $20 plus processing fees for the ticket and now must go get your money’s worth.
There are loads of reasons why a party game plan is a must beyond just being sober. But, being sober does mean you will consider how to gauge a reasonable time to leave sooner rather than later.
Your gam plan could be:
1) I will coat check my jacket.
2) Get a sparkling water at the bar.
3) Walk around the entire club once saying “hi” to everyone I know.
4) Get my jacket from coat check.
(This was and is my standard game plan for Pride) When you have a plan, you feel less stressed and anxious about the party. I promise. So figure this out before you get there. It will pay you back in less awkward times, tenfold.
3. Look really, really cute.
Just because you’re sober does NOT mean you can slack on your sartorial game. It is ESPECIALLY important to look cute at the party. When everyone’s three cocktails in and their left eye is twitching, you’ll be cute, fresh, and fabulous. It’ll really make this whole sober thing SO satisfying.
4. Don’t agree to DD unless that was the agreement beforehand.
It is 2019. We have Lyft, Uber, and taxi cabs galore. There is nothing that will bum your new sobriety out more than constantly being the DD for people. You do not have to drive everyone home just because they’re wasted and you absolutely can just call them an Uber and know you’ve done right. No one should expect you to play chauffeur every night just because you’re not inebriated. It’s not your job. If you didn’t agree to drive them home before the party, consider this your validation for saying “no” when they ask you later. You def don’t have to. Promise.
5. Try all the non-alcoholic beverages.
Did you know that Lagunitas just released a new soda that tastes a lot like a beer but has zero alcohol and zero calories? Did you realize that Club Mate, a non-alcoholic delicious mate soda is all the rage in the SF party scene? Have you tried ordering a soda water and bitters with lime?
There are plenty of things to drink besides alcohol at the bar, honey, and in this day and age, your bartender might be just as committed to sobriety as you are. Try all the sober options. Be as curious about non-alcoholic drink combinations as people are about trying all the cocktails. You are never for lack of options in a good bar. I guarantee.
6. Approach someone new.
You’re at a party, remember? Lots of people are drinking or on some thing or other, and they get way more social. You can totally try talking to someone new, and what’s awesome is that you’ll totally remember the conversation later. Bonus points are awarded for identifying other sober people at the party and making sober party friends. Is that a soda water and bitters you see? Go and talk about it! It really does help to roll with other sober or sober-ish people—totally a way better experience.
7. Make an opportune exit.
This goes back to the game plan. Is it your time to go? Do you have an episode of “Pose” to catch up on? Has the good DJ ended their set? Say goodbye, babe. Don’t worry about FOMO, there will always be another party. But there can only be one good exit ?