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How To Party Sober (Yes, It’s Possible!)

Published:
April 9, 2024
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17 min read
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Written by
Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
April 9, 2024
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17 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
April 9, 2024
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17 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
April 9, 2024
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17 min read
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Reframe Content Team
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17 min read

Having Fun, Fun, Fun Without Booze

  • Yes, it’s definitely possible to have fun when you’re sober. You might even have more fun!
  • It may take some getting used to, but redefining what “fun” looks like is a great way to start thriving without drinking.
  • The Reframe app helps you explore the reasons why you drink and empowers you to build the life you want — without alcohol.

You’re committed to doing a sober challenge, and it’s been going great so far — until you get invited to a party. And a baby shower. And then there’s a work event. And your sister-in-law’s birthday brunch. And the family dinner with your crazy aunt. Your first response is an internal “ugh.” You can’t imagine these events sober, but you also don’t want to be antisocial and avoid going out. So what do you do?

We’re here for you! Whether you’re doing a dry challenge or navigating the sober lifestyle, social events, particularly parties, can take some getting used to now that you’re choosing not to drink alcohol. Even the idea of fun, for many of us, has gotten so tied up with drinking alcohol that we may have forgotten what fun can look like without it!

The good news is that yes, it’s 100% possible to party sober! Sure, Friday nights might look a bit different than they used to, but in time, you may even find that you have more fun than you did when partying sober vs. drunk. Read on for more on how to have fun at parties without alcohol.

It’s a Love Story, Baby, Just Say “No”

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When we think about the word “partying,” what automatically comes to mind? For many of us, it’s friends, music, and alcohol. Why do we often think of partying and alcohol as the perfect couple? First of all, alcohol’s immediate effects include sedation, relaxation, a quick mood boost, and decreased inhibition. This sets the stage for light, jovial socialization.

Unfortunately, these effects are short-lived. Alas, the idea of alcohol as a “social lubricant” is only true in the short term, but studies show that this effect quickly wanes as our body metabolizes alcohol and those “positive” effects rebound.

But wait, many of us have had tons of fun while drinking at parties … right? In her song “Last Friday Night,” Katy Perry recalled a wild party by singing, “It’s a blacked out blur, but I’m pretty sure it ruled.” This is an example of the peak-end rule, which explains that we remember the emotional peak of an event and the ending, or how it turned out.

When it comes to alcohol and fun parties, our peak emotion is often a sense of happiness and togetherness. Unfortunately, we are much less likely to remember the end due to alcohol’s detrimental effects on memory. As Katy Perry goes on to say, “Think we kissed, but I forgot.”

Fortunately, there are way better ways to have fun than whatever Ms. Perry was doing in “Last Friday Night!”

It’s All About the Mindset, Baby!

The first step to reframing the idea of “partying” is to shift our mindset around partying and redefine what a “fun” party looks like. If we’re going into a party atmosphere or situation assuming we won’t have a good time because we aren’t drinking alcohol, chances are we’ll ruin our chances of having fun because we’re already setting ourselves up to be disappointed. In other words, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. We think we won’t have fun, so we don’t! So why not shift that mentality?

If we change our mindset around the idea of “fun” and instead take on a positive outlook to partying sober, chances are we’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results. We can try saying something like this to ourselves before going into it: “Well, this might be different from the parties I’m used to going to, but I’m ready for a new experience!” Decide to have a good time, and our guess is that will end up happening.

Sober Partying: Good Vibrations

Partying sober has many benefits — emotional, mental, physical, and even financial. Here are some of the top reasons sober partying can be super rewarding.

  • No hangover. Perhaps this is the most obvious one, but imagine waking up on a Saturday morning with no hangover, feeling energized and ready to tackle that workout. Sound awesome? Well, this can be every weekend if we’re partying sober!
  • Better mental and physical health. Drinking alcohol has many negative effects on our health. When we take it out of the equation, our body is much happier. We sleep better and avoid the mood dips that often accompany drinking.
  • No regrets. Well, we can’t guarantee no regrets because we’re all human, but at least they won’t be related to drinking too much alcohol, embarrassing ourselves, or recalling an interaction that we’re not proud of that leaves us with that nagging sense of regret. 

These are only some of the many benefits of sober partying. To learn more about how the benefits of sober living can extend beyond the party scene, check out our article on the many benefits of an alcohol-free lifestyle.

Fight for Your Right To Party Sober!

Even if we’re gung ho on all the benefits of an alcohol-free lifestyle, it can still be tough to navigate parties and social events when we’re sober or taking a break from drinking. Here are some tips to keep the party fun when we’re not drinking.

  • Find an engaging activity. Standing around watching everyone drink while you’re not drinking can definitely get old. To avoid this, find a fun activity that doesn’t involve drinking. Grab a board game, start a karaoke battle, pick up the guitar, or even come equipped with a deck of cards to avoid getting stuck in a situation with nothing to do. Engaging in another activity is a great way to have fun and take the focus off who is or isn’t drinking.
  • Communicate with the host. If you’re attending a party at someone’s home, it doesn’t hurt to let them know in advance that you’re going to be dry that night. Do they have a task they’d love help with? Maybe even offer to whip up a batch of signature mocktails. Having a “job” can also be a great way to have fun, and we’re pretty sure the host will love the extra help, too.
  • Bring a friend. There’s strength in numbers! Bring a friend along to help you stay strong on your no-booze commitment and to be there for you in any dull moments where you might be tempted to drink. True friends are fun to be around no matter what the activity. You can also have a supportive or sober friend check in with you multiple times throughout the night via call or text to help encourage you to stay committed to your goals.
  • Avoid negative influences or triggers. Understand your triggers and have a plan in place to manage or avoid them. Does the smell of tequila make you want to take a shot? Do certain people always pressure you to drink? Are there certain bars or restaurants that make it challenging to say no? Keep those in mind and consider sharing your potential triggers with a friend who can help you steer clear.
  • Make a plan and stick to it. A plan is also a great strategy for staying sober. For example, commit to stopping by the bar or party for an hour and grabbing ice cream with a friend afterward as a reward for a job well done! Map out an easy exit strategy to avoid getting roped into a night that feels more like a chore than fun. Plan to have a friend text or call you at a specific time to give you an out!

It’s certainly possible to enjoy a party while staying sober, though if you feel like it’s not the right thing for you, don’t push yourself! You can always plan a sober party yourself to ensure the setting will be more inclusive to you — and show your friends and family how fun it can be partying sober vs. drunk.

Get the (Sober) Party Started

Get the (Sober) Party Started

So now that we’re pros at being sober party attendees, what about when we’re the ones hosting? Even better! Hosting a sober party is a great way to show others that being sober can be lots of fun. Plus, as the host, we’re the ones in control to make sure it’s fun for everyone. 

  • Set up a DIY mocktail bar. Give guests a fun activity and provide a DIY mocktail bar full of different ingredients like fruits, herbs, mixers, fun ice cubes, and get out those fancy glasses from grandma hidden in the back of the cupboard. Saturday night is as good an excuse as any to bust out the finery. Check out these delicious recipes.
  • Get creative. Since we’re the experts of sober partying now, we can create a fun atmosphere full of options for our guests. Set up a photo booth with props, make a craft station for anyone creatively inclined, do a cookie-decorating contest, or set up a video game station.

  • Pick a theme. Have a themed party to give guests something to focus on besides alcohol. Consider concocting a murder-mystery event, having everyone come as a character from their favorite TV show, or having a PowerPoint party where everyone gives a presentation on a fun topic of their choosing.
  • Break out the icebreakers. It might sound cheesy, but hear us out! Icebreaker activities like the Proust Questionnaire or get-to-know-you question cards can be a great way to engage people at a party. Instead of the surface-level or repetitive conversations that sometimes happen when we’re drinking, we can have meaningful, thoughtful conversations with our friends and family members instead. What a concept!

With so many fun and memorable things to do, people will be talking about the hilarious game of Cards Against Humanity — not how Nick drank too much and started a fight at the end of the night. 

Closing Time

If you were doubtful about sober partying being possible before, we hope this article helped change your mind and gave you the confidence to party sober! Partying sober can take some getting used to, but it can definitely be a welcome change of pace from the mornings of hangovers and headaches. In fact, it may be so much fun that you won’t ever want to go back.

Summary FAQs

1. Is it possible to stay sober and still have fun?

Absolutely! There are many ways to have fun at social gatherings or going out without drinking. You can do anything you’d do at a normal party: listen to music, dance, play games, chat with friends, tell stories, and more!

2. How do I avoid getting tempted to drink at a party?

Make a plan and stick to it. Bring a friend along, engage in a fun activity, and avoid triggering people, places, or other negative influences.

3. What is sober partying?

Partying has long been associated with drinking alcohol, and it doesn’t need to be! Partying without booze can be just as fun if not more fun than partying with booze.

Celebrate Good Times With Reframe!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app today!

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