Ever Feel Like You Can’t Socialize Without Alcohol? You Can.

Alcohol can seem like a pervasive part of socializing. When you’re working on your relationship to alcohol, you’re likely to become hyperaware of just how much. It’s used to bond with co-workers, as a reward, to deepen existing relationships and as an overall part of “letting loose.”

To stick to your goals and avoid your triggers, it can be helpful to suggest alcohol-free activities when next getting together with friends, family, or co-workers.

Not sure where to begin? Here are some ways you can socialize without alcohol.

Everyday Activities:

1.    Meet for tea or coffee. It might seem obvious, but switching the bar to a café is one simple way to catch up with a friend, booze-free. Often when we “meet a friend for a drink,” it’s not about the drink, but about the implied intimacy of that drink. You can still achieve that same level of intimacy in the cozy corner of a café. It’s also less expensive!

Pro-tip: Take the initiative to research a really good café that makes your town’s best coffee or most delicious hot chocolate, or has an excellent range of herbal teas. Make your choice deliberate and special.

2.    Visit a museum. Catching up with a friend via a stroll through an inspiring museum is a great way to socialize without alcohol. Good museums are thought-provoking, and generally provide many hours of things to experience and discuss.

Pro-tip: Large museums often have bars and cafés. If you schedule your socializing on the earlier side, it’ll feel more natural to suggest a tea or coffee, rather than a drink, should your friend express interest.

3.   Get active. Why not improve your health and your friendship, and take a class with a pal? From a beginner’s yoga class to a bootcamp workout, there’s something for everyone.

Pro-tip: Some fitness centers offer community classes or new member deals, which is a great way to save money while you try out a new establishment.

4.   Cook up a storm. Expand your culinary horizons by cooking up something exciting in the kitchen. Try a recipe from a country you’ve always wanted to visit or start perfecting the dish you always order out, but have never cooked at home.

Pro-tip: Try a delicious mocktail recipe to go with your meal!


Special Events:

1.    Go for a hike. What’s better than filling your lungs with fresh air, exercising your body, and taking in the magic of the great outdoors? A hike is a perfect way to connect with friends without alcohol.

Pro-tip: If you don’t live near a national park or hiking trails, you can go for a long urban walk through town or a local park. Even a sunny stroll in your neighborhood is a lovely idea.

2.    See a play, lecture, or other live performance. Expand your mind without the use of alcohol. All cities and most towns will offer some form of seated live entertainment. See an amateur theater troupe or get tickets to hear a live podcast recording. When the focus is on intellectual ideas, it’s off drinking.

Pro-tip: Ensure the venue has movie theatre-style seating, not comedy or jazz-club style seating, which often has a drink minimum, table service, or at the very least an emphasis on drinking. Theatres where you can’t bring your drinks in are your best bet.

3.   Become a tourist in your own town. We bet there’s at least one “famous” thing to do in your town… and you’ve never done it. Whether it’s finally visiting that zoo/landmark building/new restaurant/local tour, now’s the time. It promises to be a memorable event, no matter if it’s worth the hype or not.

Pro-tip: Beat the crowds by heading mid-week, off-season, or on a rainy weekend.

4.   Go away for the weekend. There’s almost no better way to deepen a friendship than spending the weekend exploring somewhere new. These days, it’s incredibly easy to rent an affordable place for a couple of nights. In the summer you can swim and hike, in the winter you can get cozy and play board games. What’s not to love?

Pro-tip: This one works best if you’re comfortable sharing your drinking goals with your friends. Maybe pitch it as a detox weekend: no phones, booze, etc. Make it intentional.

See - it can be done! 

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