Kate's Blog

Can’t Imagine Socialising Sober? Focus On This!

When I first quit drinking, I used to find socialising sober very challenging. 

Booze was everywhere and I felt as if I had a massive sign on my head that said, “Look at her, she’s not drinking!” 🚨

So if you’re newly sober (or thinking about quitting) and you’re finding things tough right now, you’re not alone.

And, as I explain in this week’s video, there’s one key question that could make life a lot easier for you…

Key points

The crucial question to ask yourself when socialising sober

The question is this: What is this event really about? It’s not about booze… even if it seems like that is all anyone is talking about! It’s about humans coming together to connect, and hopefully have fun. If the sole purpose was to drink alcohol, people wouldn’t bother going out in the first place!

So my challenge to you is this: Think about each event that’s coming up for you and work out what it’s really about. Your Christmas meal might be about spending some quality time with members of your family. Whilst that work party is about building relationships with your colleagues outside the office.

What would I like to get out of this? 

This is a great follow-up question. Decide what would make the event a success for you before you set off. Is it spending time with certain people? Having some great conversations? Enjoying some good music or a certain type of food? What’s your real goal?

If you prepare for a party by doing your hair and make up, then you may as well get your thoughts straight at the same time. Prepare your mindset in advance as well – it’s at least as important as what you’re wearing!

A boring night isn’t a bad thing

If you try socialising sober and you don’t have a good time, that’s ok. It’s not that big a deal. It doesn’t mean you should drink next time! It just means that there was something about that experience that the real you didn’t like. And that’s a pretty great thing to know, right?

We’re figuring out what you genuinely enjoy – what you love doing without having to be zombified by alcohol first. You’re bound to have a few dud experiences as part of that process. That’s ok. If you can handle a hangover you can totally handle feeling bored for a few hours!

If you need a hand getting all the different elements of sobriety to stick, click here to find out more about my next Getting Unstuck course.

Hi, I'm Kate

I founded The Sober School to show you there’s another way out of your shame that doesn’t involve AA or rehab. 


27 responses

  1. I went to a party yesterday. Those friends were not big drinkers anyway but most of them wanted to try the alcohol free wine that I took. And they liked it!

    1. Aw that’s fabulous! I’ve swapped to alcohol free wine now for almost 4 months and enjoy it. Socialising for me I still find tricky as it gives me confidence but I’m beginning to realise that I am liked regardless whether I drink or not so why am I doing it? I’m out with my friends for our company but what we are drinking?

  2. Thanks for your podcast. I have realised that I am actually really quite nervous of group events socially, meeting new people (OK 1-2-1 rather than parties) and that I suffer with social anxiety and shyness. It’s taken 10 weeks of being alcohol free to realise that was my driver for alcohol and certainly the reason I drank so fast at social events which, as you can imagine, caused many a hangover. I have tried alcohol free wine and beer at parties which stops people asking why I am not drinking alcohol but unfortunately does not stop the social anxiety……..still working on this one. As you say once you stop drinking you start meeting the real you.

    1. And it’s the real you that people like to meet because they get a lot more out of talking to a sober person than a drunk one. Being self aware is a skill in itself and really helpful in setting personal boundaries. We are all different and that’s what makes the world go round 🙂

  3. You’re talking about mindfulness, which is something we tend to distract ourselves from for some reason. It is about setting your intention to accept what is around you and stay with your awareness in a positive way.
    The idea of people wondering why I wouldn’t be drinking doesn’t enter into it for me… maybe because I’m older (65). Reminds me of an old adage: When we’re in our twenties, we worry about what people are thinking of us; when we’re in our thirties, we don’t care what people think of us, and when we reach our forties, we realize that nobody is thinking about us.

  4. I’m very private person, don’t like parties at all. All my world is husband & 2 dogs. I quit wine many years ago, but beer is my drive now. I’m trying to quit it hard, but no success yet. Any suggestions.

  5. Brilliant. I went to work do and didn’t drink and felt fantastic the next day. No hang over inspired me to continue. The question what is this event about is very powerful. I will be asking myself that frequently and can see how I will get more from each event

    1. Congratulations Hilary! That’s exactly what early sobriety is about, gathering the experience of doing things differently that you would have linked with alcohol before. It gets easier and more enjoyable at every event, I promise!

  6. This will be my first Xmas sober so I’m not sure exactly how to feel. I’m not going to drink, I know that. I’m a loner by nature. Do not socialize much. I am confident I will be o.k

  7. Love the blog Kate.
    This may sound odd but do you have any blogs on dating sober? I’m 29 and trying out online dating and already finding it daunting enough without trying to do it sober, however your blog has really opened my eyes to the benefits of going AF and would love to give it a go but just scared to take the first step!

    1. I’ve not done a specific blog about sober dating, but the socialising aspect is quite similar. I do touch on this subject in my online course, next class in January 2023: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
      Other students and my coaches will have some sage advice to offer on the course and community support is a big part of the programme. Here are a couple more blogs on socialising that might be helpful too: https://thesoberschool.com/the-real-reason-parties-can-be-less-fun-sober/

  8. I am looking forward to an AF Christmas this year. I’ll be at a largish family gathering and I have been put in charge of providing AF drinks. What a responsibility! I am just about to order the best local kombucha , and am doing lots of research on AF bubbles, wines and beers.
    I am alcohol free since July ’22(before which I was bottle-a day for several decades) and I’ve never felt more happy and well. Thank you Sober School. Wishing you all a genuinely HAPPY Christmas

  9. I appreciate the questions you posed — it seems apt to focus on what I want from an event or gathering, rather than the alcohol and not having it. I chuckled when you said if I could tolerate and get through a hangover, then certainly I could get through some awkwardness at a party. Sounds like a plan! A goal, anyway. Not quite there yet, but working on it.

  10. Your pep talk last week really hit home with me.
    I always clock watch to see if it’s wine o’clock yet. Maybe have a drink earlier as a reward for doing the housework. And it is making my day smaller, because when a have a drink that is the end of my day.
    Instead of drinking a bottle of wine a day I’m now having alcohol free days and only have about 3 units when I do.
    Thank you so much.

  11. I went with work colleagues last Friday for Christmas meal at local restaurant.
    I picked up one of my colleagues so I was driving and could use this as excuse not to drink . It’s first event out since I stopped drinking ( 4weeks ago)
    I enjoyed myself although did not think much of the food ( which everyone had been raving about)
    The venue was also really cold and I could not get warm ( have thyroid )so really cannot get warm so this Spoilt the evening a bit.
    It was funny to watch my manager getting louder as she drank more.
    It still feels odd not drinking and this time of year booze is everywhere but I am determined to keep on track.

    1. Well done you for going and experiencing a Christmas work event – that’s a major sober first! The things we used to do with a drink in our hand are going to feel a bit strange to start with in sobriety, but they do get easier and more comfortable I promise. I find it really interesting to watch the behaviour of people as they drink more as that used to be me – get curious about what feelings that brings up for you. If you’d like some help and support on your alcohol-free journey, my next class of Getting Unstuck starts in January and all the details you need are here: https://thesoberschool.com/course/

  12. I have altered the way i socialise with friends so that i do more brunch and lunch things : there seems to be less emphasis on alcohol. My close friends are very supportive and would never try and coerce me in to drinking and i now take the decision to not go to events that take place in loud club type venues : don’t like them so politely decline!

  13. I am so so very thankful that I found you and this group! I have been searching for someone else going sober with a drinking husband! I am so relieved and look forward all you have to read and listen to and connect with. You are truly a Godsend, Kate!

  14. I feel such shame about my drinking but am determined to start again and am aiming for 100 days. I am still a bit stuck but won’t stop trying.

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