About Addiction & Sobriety

How to have fun and socialize sober

People build their entire social lives around drinking. It’s no surprise that most people don’t know how to socialize alcohol-free and have fun sober. Here’s how to do just that.

Ed Latimore, author, blogger, and retired pro boxer
Ed Latimore Author, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

When you make the decision to become sober, one of the most annoying things you have to deal with is your friends, family, and colleagues trying to convince you to have a drink.

It’s easy for you to avoid alcohol and have fun in the day, but when you go out to a social event that’s when you start having problems.

“Why is it so hard to socialize without alcohol?” You ask yourself. “Why can’t I have just one drink?”

Well, fortunately for you there’s a way to enjoy life without drinking that doesn’t require becoming a hermit and avoiding everyone you love, and I’ll share with you exactly how to do that in this article.

What can you do for fun without drinking?

The usual advice given for socializing without alcohol is to spend less time in bars.

This is good advice, but it has a glaring flaw: you can obtain alcohol almost anywhere. In fact, alcohol has become such a central part of modern American life that there are almost no social events where it’s not possible to get a drink.

Sure, it’s a bad idea to get blackout drunk at the opera, but they still allow you to buy alcohol there.

Attend a book launch, and there’s almost certainly going to be drinks. The local horse tracks? There’s going to be alcohol.

So leaving the bar scene is not enough. You need to do things that will take you to new environments and have an awesome experience without a single drop of booze.

In all likelihood, you already know what those things are. Almost everyone can think of something that they have fun doing while they’re sober.

Ask yourself:

  • What is it about these activities that you enjoy?
  • How do you feel after you do them?
  • You’ve got plenty of other options. Why do this thing in particular?

Once you have the answers to these questions, the next question is this:

What do you get out of drinking with people that you don’t get from spending time sober with them?

Personally, I drank because I wanted to feel connected and fit in.

I didn’t think I was interesting or cool enough for people to desire my company solely on the merits of my personality. Drinking made me feel like I had a valuable place in a group.

Soon, drinking became the only way I knew how to connect with people. It wasn’t just a crutch anymore; it had completely wiped out my ability to socialize and connect with people.

Nevertheless, it was clear to see that I enjoyed environments where I got mental stimulation or felt connected with other people—and preferably, some combination of the two.

What did I do instead of drinking? I started spending more time with my friends individually over coffee, rather than in group settings at the bar, and it made a huge difference in my life.

3 things you need to do if you want to stop drinking

It doesn’t matter if you’re addicted to alcohol or just have a couple of drinks a month, if you want to have real success when you stop drinking you need to address three things:

  • The social conditioning about alcohol
  • Changing your environment
  • Building a better you

Once you can understand these, and learn to internalize them in your daily life, saying no to a drink from your friends is going to be easy.

Breaking down the conditioning

If you’ve been led to believe one thing your entire life, chances are you’re going to keep believing that thing is true. Until you learn to take an objective view of your beliefs, you probably won’t think anything is wrong.

However, what if I told you that everything you know about alcohol, addiction, and sobriety is a lie?

Alcohol has been marketed to you as a way to become confident, charismatic, and cool. Advertisements always show people looking happy, celebrating with a group of friends, or living a high-end lifestyle while drinking premium vodka.

But, what they don’t show you are the hangovers, vomit, financial ruin, regrets, and fights. And although you know these things happen when you drink, you still believe that alcohol will somehow cure boredom and make you have more fun than if you were sober.

Have you ever spoken to a drunk person? Do they seem like they’re having fun to you?

We only believe they’re having a good time because we associate their happiness with alcohol. And because we haven’t experienced what it’s like to be totally free of alcohol and have fun without it, it’s impossible to imagine a world without it.

As is the case with all things, you can’t defeat it until you understand it, and this is the first step in doing it. The next is to change your lifestyle and environment.

Changing your environment to help you stay sober

Your environment is full of people who don’t support each other’s decisions to drink.

You’re trying to establish a new habit in an older environment, where the numbers are not on your side and—for the moment—you don’t know any other way to fit in.

You’re in a situation where people expect you to drink, and where all your friends are going to drink. That is why you, and most other people who try, fail to socialize sober.

Have you ever tried to not drink when you’re out with a group of friends?

The typical interaction goes like this:

Drinking friend: What are you having to drink? The first round’s on me.

You: Nah, I’m good. Thanks though.

Drinking friend: What! Come on, why aren’t you drinking?

At this point, you feel like you need to explain why you’re not drinking. And when you can’t come up with an explanation you feel confident enough to stand by, you cave to peer pressure.

Understanding the relationship between your old drinking environment and your own behavior is essential.

You’re a product of your environment, and your daily actions reinforce the power your environment has over you.

Whenever you try to change yourself for the better, there is always going to be friction: internal or external.

Usually, it’s both.

And there is only one way to win: by building yourself up.

Building yourself up, stronger and better than ever

Only once you have become a stronger, better version of yourself, will you be able to feel comfortable in any environment, including your old one.

The only reason you find it difficult to have fun without drinking is because you haven’t built yourself up into the kind of person that can say no.

In order to do that, you’ll need an idea of what kind of person you want to become. What kind of life do you want to build for yourself?

Go through this list and figure out your ideal:

  • Values
  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Passions/hobbies
  • Career
  • Relationships and family

You want to make it as easy as possible to visualize this future for yourself, and then put the daily habits and actions in place to get you there.

Once you make this vision your priority, it’s much easier to reject anything that goes against it—including trying to socialize without drinking.

It’s a long journey, and not something I can summarize in this article, so make sure you check out my blog post on fixing your life if you want to get serious about it.

As you spend more time building an amazing life for yourself and less time in bars, the better you get at saying no to a drink.

The better you get at not taking a drink, the less appealing drinking becomes.

The less appealing drinking becomes, the less time you want to spend around drunk people.

This is how you become the master of the environment that once enslaved you.

Do you want to quit drinking, but you just can’t?

Tell me if any of this sounds like you. You:

  • Try to have one drink like a normal person, but you end up making a fool of yourself everytime you drink.
  • You worry that you don’t know how to have just one drink like a normal person.
  • Don’t know how to socialize and have fun without alcohol and you want a change.
  • Worry that you might hurt yourself or others the next time you drink.
  • Secretly are afraid that you drink too much but you can’t leave the social life of alcohol behind.

Even if you didn’t see yourself in these statements, you know if alcohol is a problem that you’re having trouble beating

In my program Vicebreakers, I detail the strategies and tactics I used to *finally* quit booze after trying to put the bottle down for over.2 years. After numerous attempts and relapses, I cracked the code.

12/22/13 was the last day I drank alcohol. My life has been uphill ever since. 

If you want to learn the strategies that I use to finally get control my drinking habit, then check out Vicebreakers.


I want to get control of my drinking!

One last way to have fun sober…

Prior to giving up alcohol, I didn’t think most places carried a brand of non-alcoholic beer. As long as you tip normally, bars are happy to serve it because It’s one less person likely to act like an asshole.

One of my new favorite non-alcoholic beers is produced by a company named Gruvi. They reached out to me a few weeks ago to offer me some of their products to try.

I was immediately skeptical because not only do I already have my “tried and true” favorites, I was worried that a new company was just trying to get some free publicity. However, I’m always open to being surprised so I accepted their products and tried them out.

Me enjoying a nice cool non-alcoholic beer by Gruvi.

I’m happy to say that Gruvi legitimately blew me away with both taste and quality.

If you want to enjoy the taste of a cool lager, stout, or an IPA but you’re no longer a drinker, I highly recommend that you try their line up. Use discount code Ed10 for a 10% discount. You will not be disappointed.

Get Gruvi here

Ed Latimore, author, blogger, and retired pro boxer
Ed Latimore Author, retired boxer, self-improvement enthusiast

Further Reading

8 years of sobriety: observations and benefits
Ed Latimore Quotes About Sobriety
6 steps to quit drinking on your own
The alcohol detox diet I used to get sober