How to Stay Sober at the Bar with Friends

how to stay sober

It’s Saturday night, all of your friends have invited you to the bar. You love hanging out with your friends like anyone else so you want to go but you’re also a recovering alcoholic who doesn’t want to hang out around the booze. Just because you want to stay away from alcohol doesn’t mean that you have to cut off your social life though. 

There are ways you can hit a bar on a Saturday night and still share laughs and have fun with everyone while staying completely sober. Still feeling a bit skeptical about telling your friends that you’ll join them? Here are a few tips on how to stay sober at the bar without ruining your’s and everyone else’s time.

1. Pick the Right Friends to Go With

There is a fine line between a good friend and a drinking buddy. The right friends will completely understand that you’re a recovering alcoholic and won’t force you to drink. In fact, they will keep you away from the drinks when the temptation sets in.  

If someone is just interested in being a drinking buddy they will pressure you to drink. You’ll quickly realize that they liked drunk you, not the actual you. So, if it’s a drinking buddy asking you to go out, you might want to decline. 

Another good idea is to invite another friend who you know is also trying to stay away from alcohol. Doing this will give you a kindred spirit to hang out with when everyone else is drunk. 

2. Go Somewhere With Delicious Food 

If you go to a bar and don’t drink, you may feel like you’re lame or like you’re cheating yourself. However, if you go to a bar that’s got a great selection of food, suddenly you have a perfectly valid reason to be there.

When you sink your teeth into a mouthwatering burger or you’re busy wiping wing sauce off your fingers, your mind will as far away from alcohol as possible. Food also gives you something to be excited about when your friends are raving about the great beer selection the bar has.

3. Pick a Non-Alcoholic Drink to Sip On 

Unless you elect to be the DD, if you keep ordering back to back soda’s or water, eventually you’ll start to either feel boring or like a big kid. If that’s something that you know will bother you, then live it up with virgin drinks. Not only will they taste better than your standard soda, but if a drunk friend who forgot you don’t drink or a kind stranger thinks that you already have an alcoholic beverage, they won’t try to offer you one. 

Virgin Bloody Mary

Just about every bar in the world has the ingredients to make a Bloody Mary, and just about every bartender knows how to make one because they’re kind of standard. So, you’re pretty safe to order this one.  

Virgin Collins 

Tom Collins is another drink that’s pretty standard and safe to order. If you enjoyed a regular Collins before you stopped drinking, then you’ll still like a virgin one because it’s the same drink just without the gin. 

Shirley Temple

If you miss the slight dry bite that comes with some alcoholic drinks, then you should order a grown-up Shirley Temple. On the surface, it’s just tonic water and lemon syrup but it also has grenadine which gives it that lovely “adult” bitterness. 

Virgin Mojito 

A virgin mojito is one of the most refreshing drinks that you can order. The crisp minty flavor is super tasty. Just tell your bartender to go a little easy on the sugar, otherwise you’ll be so hyper that you might as well be drunk. 

4. Choose a Place That’s Entertaining 

Similar to eating, if you go to a bar that has an arcade or a pool table, that will give you something to get your mind off of not drinking alcohol. What’s more fun than destroying your friends in pool because you’re the only one who can shoot straight? 

Unless you need a little liquid courage to do karaoke, going to a bar that has that might be a good chance for you to show off your voice a little.

5. Just Drive Yourself 

While you don’t want to feel like a loser by leaving early if you drive yourself, then you can leave whenever you want. So if things get to be a little too tempting or you get uncomfortable, you can leave. 

You can also claim DD status by driving yourself and a friend to the bar. Just check with your friend to make sure they’re okay to leave when you are. 

6. Don’t Lecture Your Friends

One of the quickest ways to ruin everyone’s time and exclude yourself in the process is by lecturing your friends when you’re telling them why you don’t drink. You do want to come up with an explanation but not one that makes them feel bad for drinking. 

Instead, just tell them that you’re a recovering alcoholic and leave it at that. They’ll understand and won’t feel like they need to defend themselves. 

How to Stay Sober and Still Enjoy a Bar 

Just because you’re a recovering alcoholic doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little fun. You don’t have to give up going to bars with your friends on the weekends; you just have to find more ways to adjust the experience. Use these helpful tips on how to stay sober to keep enjoying your life with your friends. 

Are you looking for a good detox center for yourself or a friend? Contact us for information on our facility. 

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.