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10 ways to socialise without drinking/drugging

In a culture that’s saturated with alcohol and where drug-taking is often seen as normal, socialising without substances can be a challenge.

Here are some tips to get you used to new ways of viewing your sober social life:

1. Take your own drinks: don’t rely on other people to supply nice non-alcoholic drinks. Assume there’ll only be cheap OJ or water and you won’t be disappointed. Go prepared with sparkling water or a six-pack of your favourite boutique spritzers.

2. Make it about food – not booze: if you’re invited out for drinks, ask if you can meet for dinner, and focus on the meal, not the drinks.

3. Take your own transport: so you can make a quick exit if you get uncomfortable around drinking. There’s nothing worse than stuck with drinkers getting drink-y and you can’t go home.

4. Move from night time to day time: suggest a day time meeting instead of at night as it’s much easier to drink a non-alcoholic beverage like coffee or soda when the sun is out.

5. Change locations: if you’re used to meeting at a certain bar or café to drink alcoholic drinks, change locations. A new environment will make it easier to start a new habit.

6. Get moving: invite your friends out to get out and about with you. Walking, swimming, cycling or taking a gym or yoga class are healthy and fun options.

7. Put a time limit on it: If you must attend a social occasion with lots of booze, make it clear you’ve only got a certain amount of time before you have to move on to another appointment. This means you won’t have to stay before people get tipsy and boring and you can leave without having to make excuses.

8. Be the sober driver: this is a great way to avoid drinking but is not for the faint-hearted, as you’ll have to endure hours of watching people drink and then drive them all home!

9. Take kids and other non-drinkers: normalise non-drinking by taking others who don’t drink with you. Staying sober will be easier and it might discourage the drinkers from over-indulging.

10. Get artsy: movies and live theatre are great to go to with friends. You may even want to look at something you’ve never done before, like going to the opera, attending a poetry reading or attending a film festival.

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