I always thought alcohol would make me more social.
It took me a long time to realise, ironically, that it was doing the exact opposite.
I had convinced myself that I had social anxiety around events and gatherings. I thought I couldn’t attend someone’s birthday or go to a night out without first having a few drinks. I thought it made me more approachable, more likeable, more relaxed, more fun. My biggest fear was, god forbid - someone would think I was boring.
Perhaps because alcohol is so normalised in our society, I thought there was no other alternative, or if I did - not an attractive enough one to tempt me in the slightest.
It wasn’t until December 2019 that I finally became curious about the possibility of living an alcohol-free lifestyle. I made a New Year's resolution that stuck and here we are. More than one year sober and I’m more social than ever.
If I could go back and tell my younger self something, it would be that giving up drinking is the best thing you could do for your social life and friendships.
I would tell her true sociability lies within the meaningful connections, unadulterated fun and invigorating conversations you have on the nights you can remember.
I’ve now realised that I don’t think I had social anxiety at all. I just never gave myself the chance to experience events without drinking, so I just assumed they would be more daunting than they actually were.
As a 25-year-old sober gal, I’ve had to navigate my fair share of social situations in the last year and gosh I’ve learnt a lot.
Throughout the year, I’ve come to formulate my Sober Survival Guide - aka - my go-to set of tips and tricks to ensure I have the best time when I go out and I’m never feeling uncomfortable or anxious about the choice I’ve made.
Whether you enjoy a drink, you’re sober-curious or completely sober - here’s a guide on how to socialise without alcohol.
1. Spice up your drink game
Throughout my sober journey, I’ve come to realise that a lot of the time it wasn’t an alcoholic drink I wanted, but rather the feeling that comes with it. So I tried non-alcohol drinks and found they fill that role perfectly.
Actually, having a classy and delicious alcohol-free drink in hand has strengthened my sobriety. It takes the focus off the fact I’m not partaking in something, and puts the focus back on what I am partaking in - socialising.
I’ve tried a lot of non-alcoholic drinks from wines to pale ales, but the one that I keep coming back to are Seedlip drinks. Seedlip is a distilled non-alcoholic spirit that’s most similar to gin, but tastes like it’s very own type of spirit. It has a unique combination of botanicals, herbs and spices that lend themselves well to a refreshing drink mixed with something like tonic, soda or ginger ale. My personal favourite combo is Seedlip Garden with some tonic and lime, or try some fresh mint.