Guest Blog: ‘How I used Instagram to launch a thriving sober community’- By Babes Without Beers

What if I told you that there’s a vibrant community of women and members of the LGBTQ+ community who are celebrating sober socialising?

When I founded Babes Without Beers, I was on a journey to change my relationship with alcohol. Like many, during the pandemic, I struggled with my mental health. I was doing all the “right” things like therapy and working out. But once the weekend rolled around, I would undo that hard work. Drinking wasn’t doing me any favours and it was time to make a change.

That’s when I realised, all of my friends were big drinkers. Socialising often meant meeting at the pub. Even a hike ended with a few pints afterwards. Every time I scrolled through Instagram, it seemed like people were constantly out drinking. We were all making up for lost time following restrictions, and alcohol was the main attraction.

I was on a mission to find a way to socialise where alcohol wasn’t at the centre of everything. Somewhere you could meet new people without a drop of alcohol in sight. That’s when I decided to launch Babes Without Beers. I created an Instagram account and shared our first-ever meet-up. Honestly, I was worried that setting up a sober meet-up in Ireland would be like swimming against the current, but it was far from it. The community immediately took off.

As it turns out, a lot of people feel they could benefit from more sober spaces in a culture that’s obsessed with alcohol. So many people were interested that I couldn’t keep up! That’s when I launched our regional WhatsApp chats so that people from all over the country could connect with others for alcohol-free activities.

It’s been the most amazing experience, connecting with like-minded people, and having support in navigating sober socialising. It’s really something special, bringing people together without relying on alcohol to have a good time. Going for a pint is practically a national pastime, so you might think that carving out a sober space would be a challenge but our community has had floods of support from day one.

Our meet-ups and our thriving WhatsApp community quickly became a safe space for those seeking connection beyond the pub. From table quizzes to drag shows, we’ve proved time and time again that you don’t need alcohol to have the craic. We celebrated one year of meet-ups on February 5th 2024. 

A year of Babes Without Beers has been a year of challenging stereotypes and spreading positive messages about sobriety. We want to help change attitudes towards alcohol-free events. With every post we share and every conversation, our community is contributing to a progressive narrative around alcohol-free living. 

It seems like there’s a cultural shift, we’re seeing big influencers such as i_come_undone sharing tonnes of tips for alcohol-free activities. There are more sober online communities popping up all over the country. Social media is helping the sober community show people that you really can live your best life without a drink in your hand.