When you’re used to taking shots before any social interaction, it feels weird when you show up anywhere sober. But I learned that it’s actually better this way.
Let’s face it, socializing is something that is historically associated with alcohol. If you’ve watched television, surfed the Internet, or even browsed your Facebook feed, you’ve seen advertisements from the alcohol industry — or pop culture sites in general — on what you should be doing on a Friday night, what you should be mixing your vodka with, and how you can meet good-looking people at the bar. It’s one reason it took me such a long time to try sobriety. I truly thought the only way to socialize was by going out for drinks or by eyeing up my next boyfriend from across the club while listening to “Drop It Like It’s Hot.”
It took me a little while to adjust to life sober and socializing has been a big part of that. When you’re used to taking shots before any social interaction, it feels weird when you show up anywhere sober. Each event and situation that I participated in sober was a new learning opportunity, and they proved to me that socializing sober is much better than socializing drunk.
1. It’s Genuine.
I was always the drinker who felt these deep spiritual connections with their drunk friends. I would meet someone at a nightclub in a bathroom at 2 a.m. and she would just get me. We’d be besties for the rest of the night. Sometimes these “friendships” lasted and we’d become party pals. I had tons of party pals, people who I could call on any day at any time and convince them to drink with me. Since getting sober, I’ve come to realize just how fake these connections were. It takes a lot more than sharing tequila shots to become close with another human. Sobriety has shown me that genuine connections are made with a clear head.
2. It Doesn’t Entail a Hangover.
Socializing for me in active addiction always had a hangover attached to it. That’s because I didn’t know how to socialize without consuming alcohol. I won’t lie to you, I had a lot of fun on some days while drinking, but the price I always paid was a nasty hangover. No matter how much fun I thought I was having, the next day I paid for it. Socializing sober doesn’t require the social currency of a hangover. Today when I socialize, I get to wake up the next morning feeling refreshed.
3. You Develop Connections that Have Substance.
Along with drunk connections not being genuine, they also don’t have substance. When I got sober, I left a lot of friends behind because I realized we had nothing in common. What we had in common previously was drinking and drama. Once you leave that stuff behind, you realize you need to socialize with other people who have similar world views and goals. It’s easier to find people like this when you are sober, understand what you’re looking for in this life, and go out to the right places and get it.
4. You Don’t Have to Worry About Embarrassing Yourself.
My drinking years were a long history of embarrassing situations. I know people who drink and aren’t alcoholics who have embarrassed themselves, at least a time or two, while indulging in alcohol. The beauty of socializing sober is that you don’t have to worry about embarrassing yourself! Of course, it’s possible to make a mistake or do something silly while sober, but not to the extent that I used to do it when I was drinking. I can make the conscious decision to behave in a certain way while socializing instead of leaving it up to who I become during a blackout…
For four more reasons why socializing sober is better than hitting the gathering drunk, check out the rest of the original feature article, 8 Reasons Why Socializing Sober is Better Than Socializing Drunk, over at The Fix.