If you’ve stopped drinking or you’re trying to quit, you might have mixed feelings about the next few weeks.
The festive season brings with it plenty of parties, celebrations and of course… alcohol.
If you’ve found socialising sober to be a bit of a dull or awkward experience, then you’re not alone.
There’s a very good reason that parties can seem less fun, sober – but it’s probably not what you think!
I explain all in this week’s video…
What isn’t the problem
Boring parties have nothing to do with a lack of alcohol. Booze isn’t magic joy juice – it can’t guarantee a lovely time for you. How do we know this? Well, just think about all the times you’ve drunk a lot and still felt bored, sad or unsatisfied!
Being the odd one out isn’t the problem here either. It doesn’t matter if you’re the only one socialising sober. There are plenty of other times in life where you’re happy to be different. If you’re vegetarian or passionate about a certain cause or hobby, I bet you don’t care what others think then!
Here’s the real problem
It’s your thoughts that are the issue here. Your thoughts create your feelings, not your circumstances. Socialising sober is not good or bad, easy or hard – it’s completely neutral until you have a thought about that situation, which creates a certain experience for you.
For example, thinking: “I won’t have as much fun if I’m not drinking,” will create the feeling of being disheartened. When you’re disheartened, what do you do? You probably won’t look forward to the party and you’ll ruminate over whether to drink instead. And then those actions create a real-life experience where you don’t have fun.
Power thoughts on socialising sober
Let me show you the power of having a different thought in this situation. If your thought about a party was: “I can have a great time no matter what’s in my glass,” that thought would create a feeling of positivity.
When you’re feeling positive, you’re more likely to show up as your best self. You’ll probably be more confident, engage others in conversation and won’t take things so personally. As a result of that, guess what happens? The chances are that you’ll end up having a good time!
Remember: your thoughts aren’t facts. You get to choose what you want to think about something. But it’s a big leap to go from: “I won’t have as much fun if I’m not drinking,” to “I can have a great time no matter what’s in my glass!” all on your own.
This is where getting coached and having the right support comes in. On my Getting Unstuck course – my stop drinking programme – we do a lot of work on your thoughts and your beliefs, so that you can choose new thoughts and truly believe them.
Click here to find out more about the next Getting Unstuck course.
But why sometimes do I get tense & feel I need a drink when in social company ?
There can be many reasons Jenny and that’s where some reflection on your thoughts will really help you. If you’ve turned to alcohol in the same situation before, your brain has formed a neural pathway that it encourages you to follow – our brains are wired to follow habits! I can help you find different ways of dealing with tense situations. Sign up to join my course in January for some myth busting and mindset work that will change your perceptions about alcohol: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
I feel completely over whelmed at parties even before I get there I have this rushing feeling in my head and I use alcohol to calm it I know others can see how much I’m drinking and its embarrassing to me to be like that
This is so good. I will say alcohol makes me angry or sad from time to time but I’m never ever bored when I drink but always mess up!
Also I’m quite anxious at the thought of showing up sober because I lack confidence!
The first time we do anything sober after years of relying on alcohol for so called ‘Dutch courage’ can feel strange, but it’s way better than worrying about messing up. My online course called Getting Unstuck https://thesoberschool.com/course/ helps you work through the real reasons for your anxiety, so I hope you can join me in January to work on that confidence 🙂
Nicola’s point about boredom is really sharp! I don’t like parties — the prospect of seeing more than four people at the same time gives me the heebie-jeebies and I’ll find any excuse to get out of one. For a long time I thought my introversion was the problem, but it’s actually because I find parties boring — scattered conversations that I can hardly hear over the noise — and alcohol does help there, but at such a cost, as Nicola says!
But I have really nice neighbours who put in a lot of effort, so have to do the parties, sigh. Besides turning up and leaving early, my solution is to focus on the person I’m talking to and ask them questions — that helps with my confidence, too — it’s about them, not me. I remember asking someone how he felt about an overseas teaching job being cancelled after a huge tsunami in SE Asia — did he feel relieved, guilty, or what? We had a nice, short, non-boring chat about that.
Loved that advice Christine ❤️ I will definitely use your wise words
What you say makes complete sense, we don’t need to be defined by what’s in our glasses.
I guess it also takes building a new mindset to find other ways round shyness, lack of confidence etc.
I went dry on 27.11.22 & I hope to still be on that journey on 01.01.23…
Good luck, I went sober on 20th Nov 2022. We can do this!
Good luck! I’m going sober too
I’ve been 6 weeks out and happy about it. The problem is that I DO care what is in my glass. I want to have something tasty to drink and enjoy what I am drinking. Not a boring club soda or sparkling water. I want something different than what I drink during the day.. I have found some pre-made NA drinks that I enjoy. They have a unique taste and I really don’t feel as if I am missing out when I drink them while everyone orders their cosmos and wine. Unfortunately, there are NOT a lot of great options for me when either going out or to someones home. When they have 0% beer I’m a happy camper. (I rarely drank beer) I read somewhere “they worry about the 15 different cheeses they are serving and say, Oh! we have some Diet Pepsi on the back deck. UGH! I have popped a few of these NA cans in my handbag on occasion and tell the waitress I would like a glass of ice. Awkward at times. It then leads to a conversation of Oh, you are still dong that? I downplay it and tell them it is not hard because for the most part it isn’t…..as long as I am enjoying my drink too. I have a good time and go home sober and as pleased as punch with myself. I have a number of parties coming up. How do I handle bringing my own beverage? I feel as if I should sneak it into my glass. I’m just tired of the hangovers and not having the energy I want for the following day. But, I do have the feeling that I should be able to have drink options and if they are not available, then I’m providing it for myself. I just get self-conscious about the process of my wanting to BYOB I wish the world would catch up with me and realize there is an entire industry developing with NA alternatives and gals like me wanting to hitch their wagon on it. So, how do I handle this sticky situation? Any suggestions?
Congratulations Mauree, good for you! I’m not sure where in the world you are based but alcohol-free choices in the shops and hospitality venues are becoming much more varied these days – there’s obviously a market for it and we shouldn’t have to make do with a cola or fizzy water. I think you have every right to bring your own drink if you are not catered for at a party. The host would surely prefer you to have a good time, whatever is in your glass. I wrote a blog earlier this year about ‘fitting right in’ when not drinking: https://thesoberschool.com/not-drinking-dont-worry-youll-fit-right-in/
As I was listening to this, my thought was alcohol is a drug, period. So needing to drink to socialize is the same thing as if you took any other drug to socialize.
I don’t go to parties but one thing I notice when NOT drinking, the next day I am so much more friendly and outgoing in general… will chat people up at the dogpark the next day and feel good about it.
On the other hand, when I’m in drinking mode, I feel very uncomfortable and anxious to talk with people the day after…. like I have to hold myself together to get through a conversation.
I am so sick of alcohol and I don’t want it anymore. I feel an aversion towards it. It steals all of my days from being happy the day after and even when I am drinking it only really feels good when it’s that initial seeping in of warmth and calm that lasts only a little while, then I spend the rest of the evening trying to maintain or increase that and it doesn’t work… and I pay the price of the next day…. and even extending into impacting all my days as my body has to process out the toxins… very depressing.
I can drink/quit, drink/quit all the time, but this is the time when I am doing the work on myself to fix what is broken that keeps me in that cycle.
You’re absolutely right Carol, alcohol is the most accepted drug on the planet and the only one we have to justify NOT taking – how weird is that? It is my mission to help as many women as possible break out of the drink/quit pattern, so have a listen to my free pep talk to avoid paying the price of another hangover: https://thesoberschool.com/pep-talk-audio/
I completely get what you’re saying but I love the buzz and relaxing feeling that alcohol gives me. The problem is I can rarely stop once I’ve started ..
That short lived buzz doesn’t last very long and chasing it increases your tolerance, so more alcohol needed to get the same buzz – it’s a vicious cycle! Have you read my blog about ‘playing the movie forward’ – it’s a good one to remind yourself of the longer term consequences of that first buzz: https://thesoberschool.com/playing-the-movie-to-the-end/
What a super video Kate. The work around beliefs and what I tell myself is where I need to focus. Almost 6 months sober.
Congratulations on 6 months – that’s fantastic! Self belief is incredibly powerful; all the elite athletes use a similar technique 🙂
I’m so glad I found your sober school. I’m 9 days sober after many years of drinking a bottle of wine daily and you’re keeping me focused and positive as I move forward. Thank you!
I’m so pleased to hear that Jakki. A positive mindset is the key to success, you CAN do this. If you need any more help and support, check out my online course, next one starts in January: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
I dislike social events and have done for many years. It is the result of my controlling, narcissistic ex-husband who hated me socialising and having a good time (due to his own low self esteem and insecurities) so he would either
1)pick a fight before we left then refuse to come, leaving me to make excuses for his absence
2)pick a fight when we were there and completely embarrass me
3) refuse to go in the 1st place but then not speak to me for days on end if I chose to go
4) go but isolate himself and be rude and ignore my friends and family
This all meant that drinking was a way for me to cope, which then became a habit. More than 8 years down the line, I still suffered from the anxiety related to social events. One of my main ones was always “will I get home safely”. I’d stress over it for weeks on end and funnily enough, it was never an issue once I’d had a few drinks on the night!!! I have a Xmas night out in 2 weeks time and all I can think of now is “I’m going to get home safely because I’m taking the car” & I realised that I have no anxiety about the event. You’re right Kate, it starts with what you’re thinking.
Thank you for sharing your experience Lynn. By changing your thinking, you’ve turned your expectation and enjoyment of the event completely around. I hope you have the best time and the great thing is, you’ll remember it all clearly the next day!
I am totally on board with you on this,Kate .We were in Fuerteventura last week,and I did my karaoke impression of Mick Jagger and most of the time I was the only one giving it large on the dance floor …and all completely sober of course ! Thinking you need to have a drink to have fun and act silly is one of the biggest illusions out there .
I so would have loved to see your impression of Mick Jagger! That’s hilarious and good for you – showing everyone how much fun sobriety is ❤️
I think this very helpful information.
Needs to be applied.
A stubborn attitude often gets in the way.
Being in denial of being as an alcoholic.
My niece is getting married in a few weeks and I suggested to my sister that they organise some decent sparkling grape juice for the party as I wasn’t too happy with sipping lemonade from a pseudo-jam-jar glass for the toast at the last wedding. With a considered hmmm, she realised there would be a few others who won’t want booze – expectant and nursing mothers, someone else she knows who doesn’t drink, a high-performance sportsman who will be back on the field the following day, and those who actually would like something else for a change. I’m really looking forward to the party now!! No need to feel out of place toasting the happy couple with orange juice!
As your nearest & dearest become accustomed to your sobriety (and they will, eventually, or no longer be your dearest!) they will learn how to support you and at the same time realise you are not the only one who chooses to be sober. As Kate said, it’s how we let our thoughts guide us that makes the difference.
Absolutely Anna, I totally agree. We shouldn’t have to settle for flat cola or sparkling water at catered events. Slowly but surely the tide is turning towards an alcohol-free lifestyle and we are forging the way, one drink at a time! Enjoy making special memories 🙂
Change my thinking…..great advice. Think positive…..a little over five months. I could not have done it without the blogs
I don’t take time to change my thoughts before I go out. I need to do some work on this. I seem to battle through with little joy involved.
I too find I drink water or soda and lime because I haven’t found a good alternative and resent paying for “shoft drinks” and I don’t want friends paying for them either!
This will be my first Sober-by-choice Christmas in decades Until July this year I had been drinking daily for four decades . I did the Unstuck course in October.Now I feel amazing : I am happy, I have energy, I now can work, socialise, relax, exercise and think balanced thoughts better than I ever did my whole adult life. (I also look so much better! People are asking me about why I am looking so well, What am I putting on my skin etc. I even got a general ‘wow-look at Frances’ when I walked into a room recently. Honestly I am not an extrovert but even I have now had my ‘Hollywood moment’!)
Please do the Unstuck course. Stick with your difficult early sobriety days . What’s waiting for you in Soberland is so amazing . You will love it.
It sounds like an amazing course. I want to feel like that too. I keep giving it all up and then being peer pressured back into it (see my post below) It’s like some people in this country can only trust someone who can “handle their drink”. It’s an addictive drug with many negative side effects on literally any user and yet it’s still almost taboo to say you have ever had any problems with it. I can’t believe I was sucked back in through peer pressure and trying to create a good impression in my job. Well, no more. I am definitely signing up for the next course and I am sure it will be the most worthwhile thing I spend money on next year. Well done to you for sticking it out. I nearly signed up for the October course. Wish I had now! see you in soberland 🙂
Alcohol-free living truly is a lifestyle upgrade and nobody ever regretted NOT drinking. I look forward to guiding you to Soberland!
I too find this. There is pressure when you don’t drink as people all think you are either boring or have a serious drinking issue and start to defend that they dont so they can carry on drinking.
Also having a heavy drinking spouse makes it very tempting to ‘if you cant beat them, join them’ attitude seep in.
I find it difficult to talk with people who are drunk, particularly my spouse, and that stops me having fun at parties.
But when I look at how alcohol is making them behave, I think ‘ this is how I look and behave and I dont like that’ !
I agree Sandra, drunk people are not much fun to be around, at a party or anywhere for that matter. And other people do sometimes get defensive about their own drinking if you choose not to drink, but that says so much more about them and not you. The good news is you are only responsible for your own habits, so you don’t have to change anyone else – it’s much easier just changing yourself! I wrote a blog about this topic a while ago that I think might be helpful for you: https://thesoberschool.com/i-want-to-quit-but-my-partner-still-drinks/
I will definitely check out this blog. I gave up drinking 4 years ago but this year it has crept back in. Started on holidays with the odd G&T and now i feel it is getting far too regular and leaving me feeling angry with myself that i have now put myself back in the position of having to go through the process again. My husband drinks way too much every night and i definitely think he feels less judged if i too am drinking.
Peer pressure is real, but you have followed an alcohol-free path before and can do so again. If you need some extra support, check out my online course that supports and coaches women to live life free from the alcohol trap : https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Truly well deserved compliments Frances, you put the work in. When you are confident, happy and energised, the beauty shines out.
I went on a work curry night sober a few weeks ago- when I said I wasn’t drinking my boss literally sucked in his breath and said “oooooh” like that’s so bad you’re not drinking. I work for a company that creates fitness challenge events! You’d think that not drinking would be seen as a very positive thing in my line of work. The world is still so backwards at times- it beggars’ belief BUT thanks to you Kate I have thought of the perfect comeback for the Christmas do- “Alcohol. The only drug on the planet you have to justify not taking” . I will most definitely find an opportunity to drop that one into the conversation! and will be relishing the looks of shock and people’s inability to say anything back to that hahaha can’t wait!!!
Another thing Kate has said: BE A SOBER REBEL – Challenge accepted 😀
I love that response and will definitely use it Jasmine!
I went dry on 13th November and initially I was worried about how I was going to cope with our busy social life that does revolve around wine! However I’ve found so much more joy in the hangover free days, the lucid conversations I’m able to have without the fear of saying or doing something silly it has actually increased my confidence. I can’t wait for all the things we’ve got planned before and during Christmas as they are going to be even better without the alcohol x
Sobriety brings a calmness and inner joy that is so worth it – keep going Sarah 🙂
Thank you for this video. Today I am 18 months sober. Your online sober class made all the difference in being able to remain alcohol free. Forever grateful to you Kate.