Sobriety and fun are not mutually exclusive

Fun And Sobriety Are Not Mutually Exclusive—and That Reality Needs To Be Normalized

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“Let’s get drunk and have some fun,” your pal says. “We got so drunk last night—wasn’t that fun?” they might say. These statements could be completely harmless depending on the individual expressing them, their upbringing, and their relationship with alcohol.

Nonetheless, they reinforce the notion that drinking is a requirement for having a good time as an adult. To dispel that myth, the most recent edition of the Well+Good Podcast discusses why it’s perfectly possible to have a good time without drinking—and why normalizing that skill is so important.

It’s worth mentioning right away that, for many people, sobriety isn’t so much a choice as it is a required solution to alcoholism or alcohol addiction—as Holly Whitaker, author of Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed With Alcohol, discovered.

Others may find the idea of not drinking quite countercultural. It’s strange to refuse to participate in something that the majority of people do. ” She states in the episode that refraining has a stigmatizing effect on people.

Fun And Sobriety Are Not Mutually Exclusive—and That Reality Needs To Be Normalized


Non-drinkers may feel isolated because they’ve chosen a sober lifestyle for health reasons (which can include a more regulated mood and heightened focus) or other personal reasons unrelated to alcoholism.

And this emphasizes the importance of rethinking whatever preconceptions you may have about those who don’t drink. Meeting a sober person should be as unsurprising as meeting someone who enjoys a nightly glass of red—and you shouldn’t suspect either person is having more fun than the other in that situation.

Dry January, or the practice of abstaining from alcoholic beverages for the first month of the year, is helping to move the needle in that direction. “It normalizes the conversation of abstaining from drinking,” Whitaker says. “It also helps normalize sobriety for folks who can’t drink at all.”

Fun And Sobriety Are Not Mutually Exclusive—and That Reality Needs To Be Normalized

How sobriety and sober curiosity are becoming more mainstream

The normalcy of not drinking (for whatever reason) has already acquired a hold in some circles, and alcohol companies have had no choice but to pay attention to the large number of people who are refusing to order alcoholic beverages.

New non-alcoholic options are making it easier to enjoy a cocktail without alcohol, whether at home or in a bar or restaurant.

In the podcast episode, MJ Gottlieb, co-founder of sober social network app Loosid, estimates that up to 30% of individuals in restaurants do not drink. “So you suddenly see some of the world’s largest alcoholic beverage brands investing in non-alcoholic beverage products.” Then you noticed eateries doubling down on mocktails.

They noticed that a sizable section of their clientele did not consume alcohol. Going alcohol-free may be easier than ever before, with beverage companies and the restaurant industry catering more directly to this demographic.

And there’s no harm in experimenting with this kind of sober-curious lifestyle, if only to check in on your relationship with alcohol and prove to yourself that you can have fun without drinking.

Even if you’re not an alcoholic, if you feel like you need to drink [to have fun], there may be something obstructing you—something that causes you to need to escape from “the now,” Gottlieb says.

And taking some time to learn about sobriety may help you find out what that is and how to become more comfortable being totally present without the use of alcohol.

“I don’t believe that everyone needs to be sober,” Whitaker says, “but I do believe that if you’re on a journey to self-discovery, you’re going to have to look at the things you’re using to escape yourself.”

And if one of them is alcohol, putting it down could help you reclaim your natural sense of humour. “Not only can you have a lot more fun sober,” Gottlieb argues, “but you can actually recall what you did the next day.”