Alcoholfree living: The dread of going to parties.

I haven’t had a drink for almost six months now. And I love my new life. But one thing I don’t love is going to parties. Sure, it’s great to catch up with friends and families. And up until 10pm, the conversation is quite pleasant. But a non drinker amongst a sea of drinkers can cause some people to really squirm!

On Saturday night, we attended a friend’s party. It was a milestone birthday, marking a special occasion. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy and feel humbled to be able to celebrate that special moment with special people.

Up until about 10pm. 

Then, the downhill spiral of drunken blabber, slurring, groping, repeating and unfiltered gossip begins.

Being alcoholfree, it’s still our right to attend such events. It shouldn’t be as hard as what it is, thanks to our heavy drinking culture. Sadly, we can’t change peoples’ attitudes but we can change how we respond. So here are some tips you might find useful if you’re off to a party/wedding/drunken event.

  1. Arrive early, leave early. Like Cindarella, things turn into pumpkins at midnight. I save myself the grief and exit about 10pm. By about that time, most people have had a skinful so they don’t even realise you’re heading off. And do you think they’ll remember conversations after that point in the evening? Unless they are controlled drinkers, I’d say probably not.
  2. Always have something in your hand. Even if it’s sparkling water with a slice of lemon in a gin and tonic glass. It helps reduce the interrogations about why you aren’t drinking. It’s so sad that we need to resort to this tactic but I do it to help keep the conversation pleasant… I don’t want to justify to someone I haven’t seen in a while why I’m not drinking.
  3. Keep busy. For example, whether it’s taking photos or helping with the food, find something to take your mind off the drinking all around you. This tactic helped me hugely in the early days. Because if I sat at a table, staring longingly at people’s drinks, watching them drink, smelling the smell and feeling sorry for myself, I think I might have caved. I’m not saying don’t talk to people, I’m saying keep busy so your mind isn’t tempted to wander to the drink.
  4. Take your own car. This is probably stating the obvious, but it’s so you can sneakily escape in your own time, on your own terms. 
  5. Tell someone who’s there that you won’t be drinking. If things get tough, I go and find my partner and tell him I’m struggling. He knows the full course of my alcoholfree journey and he is my rock. He always says something reassuring and supports me when the going gets tough. If you know the story of Dumbo and the purple feather, he is my purple feather. I’m more than capable of flying but having him there helps trick my mind into thinking I’m successful because here’s there supporting me.

Anyway, hope this helps. I used to love parties. Any excuse to drink, drink, drink. My preparation for parties was a bottle of wine before I left home. But now, I know I have to prepare differently. Like anything in life, practice makes perfect. I believe that the more we attend social events and don’t drink, the more comfortable in our own skin we will become. It’s just a matter of time. I’m not quite there yet; parties still make my skin crawl and I feel anxious. But I’m hopeful that over time, the angst I feel before and during the event will gradually subside.

If you have any tips or tricks about attending social gatherings, I’d love to hear about them! After all, we are stronger together.

Love and sober hugs,

From New Zealand πŸ’™πŸ™‹πŸ½πŸŒπŸŒ΄πŸ‡³πŸ‡Ώ

PS the following photo was taken on my walk to work one day last year. The Marilyn Munroe quote I overlaid on top has helped me out in some tough time, so wanted to share it with you. Thank you for stopping by.

26 thoughts on “Alcoholfree living: The dread of going to parties.

  1. Pingback: Six months alcoholfree: before and after. | No Wine I'm Fine

  2. This is great advice. I always try to take my own car these days to any parties or events, it just really adds to the peace of mind and ability to make a quick escape if need be. When my boyfriend is packing his cooler of beer etc, I’m packing a cooler of rootbeer, gingerale, and some fun or funky non-alcoholic drinks. I usually try to take a variety and I always make sure that I have something in my hand at all times! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love dancing and really missed it in the early days, went to a few alcohol free events but there was such a druggy/ rave vibe at them. People lashing into energy drinks, just really weird. Now, 7 years on I have parties at my house, lots of food, fantastic friends ( about half who drink) lots of music and always dancing. Well done on your sober time. S x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh now bizzare about the sober parties πŸ€”
      Sounds like you have found a nice balance. I love how you have accommodated your friends and family who drink into your life in a balanced way. The reality is, we will always have loved ones who drink. And that’s their choice, not ours. So the way you are grown up about this and accepting that into your socialising is very commendable. ❀️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You are doing absolutely amazingly, especially taking into account the drinking culture that surrounds you, you should be VERY proud of yourself. Great list and LOVE that beautiful photo, keep going, you will enjoy your life so much better now x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I still, after 33 months sober, am not a fan of parties anymore.
    I just get antsy, and find it hard to relax.
    So I just leave early, and I am happy doing that.
    I used to be SO worried about what I would be missing out on, but most of the time, I am missing out on anything but sleep!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I feel an affinity with you. I don’t know if I told you already, but I rarely drink. It’s never been a thing for me…I’ve had other addictions though, and maybe that’s why I feel it (the affinity). I’ve had “journeys” too.

    I’ll not dick all over your blog about my shit though. Just wanted to say that I’ve had exactly the same experiences at parties. I’m older than you by quite a bit (I think?) so that has something to do with me slowing down, not partying as much now, but there were many times that I had to attend house parties where I KNEW I wasn’t going to drink. I stopped drinking years ago after a particularly vile night of drinking when I made a complete arse of myself. So, after that I’d take the car, the kids…whatever and whoever I could and that/they were my excuse. Nobody ever questioned it. Ever! Having a drink in my hand was also a ploy. Nobody cared what it was. I always insisted that I was “just making myself at home” so that I could top up the diet coke or whatever by myself.

    I love house parties though I’m not fond of formal gatherings such as weddings. Urggghhh. *shudder*.

    I see a great strength in you. I hope that’s not a pressure, me saying that? I see a lot of me in you though. I smile when I read your blogs, every time. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your lovely message, we are kindred spirits!πŸ™‹πŸ½
      That is so wonderful that you recognised the downside alcohol can cause and you called it early on. Many people happily go through life socially drinking and controlling their intake… just not me. I like how you kept your perspective, kept your focus and did your own thing. That’s very admirable.
      And thank you for your lovely words or support, I’m so thankful. And for having faith in me, together we can live happier lives (irrespective of our any ‘addictions’ we may have had in our past).
      I genuinely think the power of the blog is underrated and unassuming. It’s brought us and so many other people together. Like a shoal of herrings, we are stronger, safer and more visible in numbers. Xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

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