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Ask Alkie

Is it possible to be sober and still have fun? I always thought that people who quit drinking and using drugs became pretty boring, irritable and even angry. People who don’t drink seem to spend all their time complaining about how they can’t drink any more. Will my life become boring? Will I become boring?

The simple answer is, you probably will become more boring, if that means you will no longer experience the ups and downs of self-hating misery that you get with addictive boozing. Life for alcoholics and addicts tends to be punctuated with agonizing catastrophes, messes that need to be cleaned up, regretful phone calls, and embarrassing pleas for forgiveness – not to mention the eventual more serious consequences: run-ins with the law or even causing physical harm or death due to your alcohol- and drug-use. Alcoholics and addicts know what it’s like to wake up and want to put a bullet in their brain. At least this was my experience.

That being said, sober life may lack the drama it used to have, but it’s not actually boring. You’re just experiencing it in a new and novel way. Even though I was what some call a “functioning addict” – having a good job, my own car, and a nice place to live – I definitely wasn’t going out and having a good time while in my active addiction. In fact, I was way more boring when I was using. I hardly went out and when I did it was to go cop drugs.

Nowadays, I am having a blast in sobriety. I have a very active social life and am involved in a lot of service work. I spend quality time with family and friends, whereas before, I would avoid my loved ones at all costs because of the guilt and shame I was experiencing.

Here are some tips on sober “partying:”

Make it a family event – whenever you include kids and family, it’s a lot easier to avoid supplying alcohol.

Do lunch – people don’t freak out as much if there is no alcohol at a lunch event, and often they don’t even expect any.

Allow people to go BYO – if I’m having people over for dinner and they say, “What can I bring?” I usually say that if you want to drink alcohol, bring your own because I don’t serve it myself. Occasionally people do bring some, and I don’t mind.

Have music be the focus, rather than alcohol – music is the great intoxicator and mood-lifter. I get a buzz from a good song by one of my favorite artists and even more euphoric when I get to share that with others. It can really help make a party feel like a party to have a good soundtrack or live music.

Find sober friends – there are a lot more sober people out there than you think, and it’s great when you find each other.

Go out to eat – If you have friends that really like to drink, and you don’t feel like dealing with it, just meet them at a restaurant. They can drink as much as they like and you don’t have to worry about cooking or doing dishes. Double bonus.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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