What It Feels Like to Be The Sober One At a Party

It’s not as bad as you would think.

Kelly Tompkins
4 min readNov 5, 2020


What are parties like? Will I even have fun? Will I even be fun?

When I first went sober, I didn’t think I could go to a party, much less have fun at one. It felt like I was closing off social gatherings for the rest of my life both from my own doing and just the fact that I wouldn’t be invited anywhere. And I did avoid parties and social gatherings when I first went sober which helped me, but it further pushed this idea that I would never be able to be social again.

But like all things that stem from anxiety, I did end up going to a party and realized that all of those thoughts weren’t true at all. Things did change but for this introvert, it felt like it was for the better. These may not happen to you, but they have been things that have consistently come up for me when I go to social gatherings.

You will care if there’s going to be food

When before my thoughts were all about how to get wasted the fastest, now it was all about one thing-food. Pre-gaming was now asking the host if there was going to be food, and if I should bring some. Instead of standing off to the side and drinking until I was less anxious, you could definitely find me next to the food snacking until I felt less anxious.

When you remove alcohol from a gathering, there’s still a need to satisfy that oral fixation and you might find yourself snacking or holding a nonalcoholic drink almost the entire time.

The funny thing is, I was like this before when I couldn’t drink so it wasn’t as if sobriety awakened something in me, I just felt like I was back to my normal patterns.

Someone will talk about their own relationship with alcohol

I struggled with this one at first because if someone talked about their own relationship with alcohol in a negative light, I wanted to help them out. If I could make it when I thought alcohol would have a hold on me forever, I wanted to return the favor for anyone who wanted help. It took a while to realize that some people were just thinking out loud, they didn’t want to actually go sober.



Kelly Tompkins

Austin,Texas sober girl. Lover of horror movies, cats, and fitness. Occasional bad poet.