A Guide to Having a Sober Night Out

If you drink, sometimes going on a sober night out can seem incredibly daunting. However, it is true that you don’t need alcohol to have fun. Having a plan and preparing yourself for a great night out is key to ensure it stays that way. Read our tips on how to have a sober night out. 

Set a Goal

Set yourself a realistic goal. Whether it’s to have your first sober night out, cut out alcohol completely or you want to save some money, set yourself a goal and write it down. Our 2022 Barometer revealed that 63% of Irish adults are motivated to drink less to improve their physical health and 32% to improve their mental health. Drinking less or not at all has so many short and long term benefits. When you cut down or out alcohol you may even notice some of them straight away: 

  • Better mood 
  • Better physical appearance 
  • More energy  

Remember, don’t bite of more than you can chew. If your goal is to give up alcohol entirely, that is wonderful, but if you are used to having a drink on a night out, set small more manageable goals first and work from there.  If you are looking to cut down on alcohol or have a few drink free nights, having an all or nothing approach can hinder your success.  Keep note of how alcohol makes you feel, when you are more likely to want to have a drink and what benefits you’d like to see from cutting down or out. This is a great starting point to see where you can cut down and to help you make realistic and achievable goals. 

Make a List  

Keep a list of all the improvements that you are see from making the change to your drinking habits. Keeping track of any benefits will help you stay motivated. 

Some examples could be:  

  • how well you are sleeping 
  • what your mood is like 
  • how your energy levels are  
  • how much you have saved 
  • how your work/relationship is benefiting 

Educate Yourself

Usually, when we have a goal, we do not always look into how to achieve this goal. Did you know that only 2% of Irish adults know what the low-risk weekly guidelines are? Try out our low risk weekly guidelines quiz to see if you are consuming above the guidelines. You can also try our drinks calculator, it’ll give you an estimate on the amount you are spending, and the calories consumed. Knowing how much you drink and what the low-risk weekly guidelines are, will help you make informed changes to your drinking habits and help you achieve your goals.   

Be Consistent in What you Say & Do

Consistency is key. Saying what you are going to do to others can have a considerable influence on your behaviour as you are less likely to go back on your word. So, whatever your goal, tell someone about it. Talk to the people you trust. By talking to your confidants, they may be able to provide some additional moral support. There may be people who try to encourage you to drink but remember there are others who will support your decision and may even follow suit. Being consistent with your behaviour will help you feel stronger to not give in to peer pressure.  

Check the Menu 

If you know you are going to a specific pub or bar, check out their menu beforehand to see if they have any non-alcoholic alternatives. Many places now have mocktail menus. Knowing what is on the menu can help you feel at ease before you even go out as you know what you will be drinking. If you normally drink at home, take alcohol off your shopping list, and swap it for something else. Most supermarkets sell non-alcoholic alternatives. You could even swap out your routine glass of wine for something else you enjoy. Maybe you want to start a new book, go for a walk, or treat yourself to a pampered night in.  

Prepare for Comments

Be prepared for different reactions. Not wanting to drink on a night out shouldn’t face any negative questions or commentary, but unfortunately sometimes it does. You can always tell people the truth. The more we hear about or friends and family not drinking on nights out the more ‘normal’ it will become. However, sometimes this is easier said than done and the commentary can be overwhelming. Have some answers prepared before you head out like ‘I have a busy day tomorrow’ or ‘I want to feel the benefits of not drinking.’  For more tips on how to say no to alcohol in social settings read our January blog.    

Look forward to the Next Morning 

Have a plan for the next day. Make yourself busy! Plan to meet a friend or family for coffee, head to the gym, go for a walk, put that wash on or do the thing you have been putting off for ages. Having something to look forward to the next day or goals you want to achieve will help you stick to your plan while you are out.  

Plan Your Exit 

Have a safe route home. If you decide to drive, brilliant! You will be able to as you haven’t consumed any alcohol and you may be able to give your friends a lift home. Check the trains, buses and luases or pre book a taxi. Often when we are not drinking alcohol, we prefer to be at events earlier and leave earlier then we used to. Planning your exit means that you will feel more comfortable in your decision to not drink. Knowing how and when you are going to get home will provide comfort to you as it is one less thing you have to think about.   

Alternative Night Outs 

Think about alternative nights out. We can often focus too much of our social gatherings around alcohol. If you find that going on a night out might stop you from succeeding, you don’t need to go. Look at alternative options for a night out. Plan activities like escape rooms, movie nights (try the drive thru cinema), a craft night or try paint and coffee in the This Must be the Place.

Having a sober night out can feel daunting but with clear goals and a plan in place, you can reap the rewards. With St Patrick’s Day approaching, why not try a sober night out?