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

It’s not as bad as you would think.

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.

It happens at almost any party I go to. There will be someone who notices that I don’t drink or comment on my sobriety in relation to their own drinking. “Oh, yeah, I don’t drink on the weekends anymore…” or “ I try to only have a couple of drinks now..” It was always about how they manage their drinking habits. Sobriety can cause people to take an uncomfortable look at themselves when they see the other side, especially if it seems like you’re having a great time without alcohol.

There will be little to no nonalcoholic options

You better pack some nonalcoholic options because there will be limited options. If you don’t want to drink tap water or flat soda from the assortment of mixers, you’ll need to bring your own drinks.

I like to bring a couple of different types so that I’m not just sipping on sugary soda the whole time. I’ll usually bring a sparkling water, and if I have time a nonalcoholic beer. NA beers are nice because they still look like a regular beer so the chance of someone trying to push a beer on you gets slim.

Basically the same, but you might leave earlier

This might not seem like it’d be true but it is. Parties aren’t less fun when you’re sober, but you will be able to feel the natural “end” to a party. When I would drink, I would definitely be the last person to leave and honestly, I don’t remember much of the rest of the night. There would be faint memories of saying goodbyes to people and seeing the host start to clean up but I just wanted to keep the party going. I never really knew when the party was over so I drank until I was the last person there.

This might not be the same for everyone but a sober me is just a better guest. You’ll see me helping clean up now and I’m not the last one to leave the party anymore. I love that I choose when to leave, instead of alcohol making the decision.

Also, those promises of an early morning hike that are made with optimism on Fridays can actually be done when you’re sober. Gone are the days where you drank too much on Friday, only to cancel the next day because you’re way too hungover.

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

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