How to Have Fun Without Drinking
Are you thinking about drinking less or even stopping drinking entirely? If so do you believe that this is going to be a breeze or are you one of those people who are secretly worried about how to have fun without drinking?
Alcohol has always been associated with friends, parties, bars, and fun. This association has been drummed into us by the media, our families, and advertising. Plus alcohol itself produces endorphins that make you feel good (at least in the short term) and whilst you are drinking it has a great way of helping you to put any worries or negative thoughts into the background.
It seems to be the ultimate feel-good legal way of helping you be more confident and outgoing plus it seems to help you relax and forget about any stressors. Is it any wonder that people panic about how they are going to cope if they go alcohol-free on a night out?
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Do You Tell Yourself You Are Bored Without Alcohol?
We also regularly hear our clients say how they are bored without alcohol and that life isn’t going to be as interesting without a drink. The suggestion is that by taking away alcohol they will have nothing else in their life to look forward to.
This is particularly the case with our “Boomer” clients who were brought up to believe that anyone who didn’t drink must be odd or strange. This is a generation where meeting friends tended to revolve around pubs, bars, and clubs. Drinking was something that just about everybody did so your friends would think you were an oddity if you didn’t. Things may be changing now with Millennials and Generation Z drinking less but if you are a big drinker learning how to fun without drinking can seem almost an alien concept.
Yet the choice to stay sober or drink less doesn’t necessarily have to be hard you just need to start to think about things a little differently.
The Problem With Alcohol
The problem with alcohol is that the associations built up around it can blind our clients to the realities of drinking. These are often pushed to the back of their minds in favour of a romanticised view of alcohol and previous nights out. Yet the therapy room often helps us look at the other side of the problem and why sobriety or certainly a drastic reduction in alcohol might be necessary.
When we talk to our clients and get them to think about the realities of their excessive drinking behaviour we usually get an entirely different perspective. The same themes arise again and again and shine a light on why our clients have contacted us for help to moderate their drinking.
Health Risk – The health risks of drinking too much are numerous. Many of our clients have contacted us for help after being told by their doctor that they are drinking too much. Drinking too much alcohol causes liver and heart problems, pancreatitis, and high blood pressure to mention just a few problems.
Weight Gain – If you are drinking too much you can pile on the pounds. Most of our drink less program drinkers are overweight. Drinking alcohol regularly and hoping to lose weight just doesn’t work. Read our post on the lowdown about alcohol and weight loss to find out more.
Anxiety and Depression – As well as the physical health risks there are also significant mental health risks. Anxiety and depression are increased by alcohol use.
Hangovers and Lost Days – Even though our clients want to know how to have fun without alcohol most of them spend a significant amount of time talking about their hangovers or days spent in bed because they have overindulged. Yes, they had a great time for a few hours in the bar with their friends but then the night out catches up with them.
Embarrassing Situations – A significant number of our clients became interested in sobriety after a string of embarrassing incidents. Making a fool of themselves in front of their work colleagues, friends or even strangers one too many times told them they needed to do something else instead of drinking.
Injuries and Falls – If you drink too much you are more prone to injuries and falls. We have seen countless clients with broken limbs or bruising because of falls after drinking.
Stolen Items – How many of you will end up having something stolen from you because you were drunk? When you are in an alcohol haze your awareness of what is going on around you lessens.
Money Spent – Finally the amount of money spent on alcohol at events or in a bar soon adds up. Some of our clients are horrified by what they have spent over the years.
Focusing on the negatives of drinking can change a person’s perspective and help them focus on sobriety. It can also help you to see that addiction or overindulgence is no longer fun whilst staying sober is.
How to Have Fun Without Alcohol
So how can you learn to have fun without drinking? What can help you to stop doing something that is self-destructive and harmful? Making the adjustment doesn’t have to be as difficult as you think but you do need to take some basic steps to make changes to make the shift.
Here are the basic steps you could consider to make a difference:
- Acknowledging Your Problem
- Changing Associations
- Becoming Mindful
- Altering Your Environment
- Self-Esteem and Confidence Building
- Self-Hypnosis and Therapy
Claire Pooley in The Sober Diaries talks about the steps that brought her to the decision to quit drinking. This book is an interesting read as it addresses what happened to her before she stopped drinking and what happened afterward.
Learn to Have Fun Without Alcohol By Acknowledging Your Drink Issues
To learn to have fun without alcohol you firstly have to acknowledge that your experience with alcohol may not have been as great as you thought. You need to want to drink less or even go completely sober.
Our clients come to see us when they realise that their life isn’t going the way they want it and that drink is becoming an issue for them. What may at first seemed to be something that was helping them have a good time is now something that is harming them. They are looking for support because spending time at a party or a bar blind drunk no longer makes them happy and they know they need to do something about it. They want to stay sober because any fun that was associated with alcohol isn’t there anymore.
Associations and Alcohol
Changing associations is a great way of altering a drinking habit or becoming sober free. Most of our clients have built up associations and habits around their drinking and when these are broken it becomes easier to quit or certainly moderate drinking.
One of the biggest associations for clients is drinking wine or beer after work to wind down after a hard day. They come home sit in the same seat with their drink of choice, put on the tv, and zone out for the rest of the evening. Yet get them doing something else and the urge for alcohol lessens.
We remind our clients that there is no fun sitting like a zombie night after night and wasting their life away. Instead, if they actually spend their night doing something they enjoyed or loved they would be happier.
Work out what your associations are and start to break them as we can guarantee you are not having a good time every time you drink. Whether it is drinking in a certain location, with a particular group of friends, or after doing certain activities. Start doing the things you love and suddenly everything feels easier and you will feel happier.
Stop Drinking With Mindfulness
Most people who drink too much on a regular basis are mindless is their drinking. They do it as a way to switch off. This is often to help them deal with stress and anxiety but it can also be to quieten any negative mind chatter that makes them feel bad about themselves.
Mindful drinking techniques can help bring back your focus to the present moment and make you pay attention to exactly how much you are drinking and why. By focusing on what you are really doing you naturally drink less. Plus you also begin to understand what elements of your life are not working and what needs to change. Learn to slow down drinking alcohol in our post on the subject.
Use our Drink Less Worksheets to help you pay more attention to what you are consuming and deal with the real problems that are making you drink. This is the way you will feel happier not by having another drink.
Alter Your Environment
Whether your drinking is mostly done at home, with the same group of friends or at night in the same bar altering your environment can make a difference.
Having fun without alcohol sometimes means leaving behind bad habits, unhelpful friendships or locations which are doing you no good. You don’t have to do the same as everyone else so decide to spend your time elsewhere or doing different things can make a big difference in reducing alcohol cravings.
Your life will significantly improve and be happier when you choose to do things differently and start living the life you want.
Alcohol and Self-Esteem Issues
Many of our clients use alcohol as either a way to boost their confidence or to silence the negative critical mind that tells them they are not as good as everyone else. Drinking becomes a way of coping rather than a solution to the problem.
Just about every one of the people who see us for drink less therapy needs help boosting their self-esteem and even if they don’t it doesn’t do any harm. Negative thinking is an important reason why people drink. Understanding that you are actually perfectly wonderful the way that you means your need for alcohol is reduced.
When negative thought patterns are resolved it becomes much easier to have fun without drinking constantly.
Stop Drinking Self-Hypnosis and Therapy
Learning how to have fun without drinking can also be easier when you either use self-help methods or see a therapist if you need more personalised assistance.
Self-hypnosis to Moderate Drinking is a self-help method that we regularly use to help our clients drink less or even go sober. It works by altering unhelpful subconscious thought patterns. Repeated listening to our self-hypnosis for alcohol download for example helps to reduce stress and gives suggestions for positive change. You can purchase the download in our online store.
For clients who want a little extra help, we run a four-session drink less program. As this is personal to you it deals with the reasons why you may have an addiction. Knowing what is driving you to drink and getting help to overcome that problem can obviously make you happier and stop you from using alcohol as a crutch.
How to Have Fun Sober
Tackling underlying problems associated with your drinking, breaking bad habits and changing associations can help you to learn how to have fun without drinking. Remember that most people never break down the reasons why they are doing things. Being mindful and making conscious decisions for change can make a very big difference to your health and happiness.
The question now is what are you going to have fun doing now that your life doesn’t revolve around just drinking for pleasure. Here the key is discovering what your passions and interests are. Think of this as a time of exploration for you to find out what you love to do and who you enjoy hanging around with. Here are just some suggestions of other activities you could start doing:
Activities Without Alcohol
Now that we have told you how to have fun without drinking where can you go or what can you do where alcohol isn’t the main feature? Here are just some fun activities that you can do to help you stay sober or moderate your drinking.
Get New Hobbies – A hobby or interest is a great way to have fun and occupy your mind. Start trying out some for size to see what fits your particular needs. You could try anything from art to photography to see what you like. Remember a new hobby can also mean creating a new group of friends.
Meet New People – It can be easy to get stuck in a rut doing the same things or meeting the same group of friends week after week. Join some clubs or meet-up events to meet people who you might get along with without the social lubricant of alcohol.
See a Movie – The cinema is a brilliant place to have fun watching the latest blockbuster movie without the need for a drink in your hands.
Go Dancing – There are so many types of dance to learn so pick a class that suits your fitness level and expertise. This is a great way to socialise and also to get fit.
Play a Sport – Instead of drinking empty calories pick a sport you can practice regularly and get involved. There is everything from team sports if you want camaraderie to sports you can do yourself such as running. Sport is a great way of helping you to be alcohol-free as it requires you to be healthy to do well with it.
Cook – Learning to cook is a great way to occupy your time and have fun. Instead of eating the same thing night after night experiment with new recipes and step outside of your comfort zone. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is a great cookbook to get you started.
Watch Videos or Even Make Them Yourself – There are probably plenty of films that you would like to catch up on so start picking some and work your way down your wish list. Alternatively making a video is easier than ever. Make Instagram stories or a YouTube video to pass away the time and build a following. This can be a great way to learn how to have fun without drinking and potentially make you some money at the same time.
Watch or Play Music – The world of music is vast so there are a huge number of possibilities here. You can learn to play and master an instrument or alternatively why not go and watch someone else play. Concerts are great fun and a brilliant way of spending time. If you look locally you may also find some free ones so you don’t even need to spend any money.
Book Club – Book clubs are a great way to meet other people who are interested in reading and want to discuss a particular book. Find one that doesn’t revolve around alcohol and that reads the kind of books you are interested in.
Play Games – Are you an expert at cards or do you prefer video games? Playing games is huge right now and fun. There are now games cafes in just about every town and city. Learn how to have fun without drinking alcohol and instead have a cup of coffee and a battle against a worthy opponent.
Get out in Nature – Especially in the summer months make the most of the lovely weather and get outside and get a great dose of vitamin d. Walks in the sunshine are great for your mental health and wellbeing.
Volunteer in the Local Community – Think about whether there is something that you can do in the local community that interests you. Volunteering is great for your spiritual health.
Living a sober lifestyle or moderating your alcohol intake doesn’t have to be less fun it is just an alternative way of living that you shut yourself off from in your previous life. When you change your drinking habits you are likely to be pleasantly surprised at exactly how good your life can be when you actually do things you love free of hangovers and feeling healthier.
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