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Overcoming the "Sober is No Fun" Myth

When we get sober, we can be left worrying what other people think of us.

This is particularly true if we used to be the life and soul of the party. Questions like ‘will I still be fun?’ and ‘will people want to invite me to their gatherings?’ circle around our minds, uninvited.

There are, I think, two things at play here

Firstly, is our preoccupation with other people’s opinions of us. We worry that people won’t see us as fun anymore and won’t want to hang out with us as a result. This, I believe, largely fades away with time. The longer you are sober, the easier it is to stop caring about what people think.

You might lose a few friends along the way, but ultimately the ones who matter will still be there. You might even realise that people don’t care about your sobriety as much as you thought they did!

The second thing at play is wondering if we can still do all the ‘fun’ things we used to. For instance, getting up to dance, confidently making a speech, singing karaoke, putting the moves on someone you fancy, and so on.

Is it possible to still do these things and have a laugh without alcohol to loosen us up?

In my opinion, the answer to this question is a huge, resounding


It could take a little bit of time and practice to learn how to let go and not take yourself too seriously. But once you overcome the natural feelings of fear, you’ll become braver and more of a laugh than you ever thought possible.

A couple of weeks ago, I hosted a sober quiz and karaoke night. It was open to both students and the public, but I wasn’t expecting many people to come.

I was sick with nerves, worrying that I wouldn’t be able to have fun like I used to. Of course, this is far from what actually happened.

Let me set the scene...

I walk into the empty hall. It looks huge – too huge to ever be filled. Pink-ish light illuminates two rows of long tables. I walk to the front, place my bags down in front of the stage, and take a deep breath.

A person with a hoodie that read ‘facilities’ approaches me, introducing himself as Ryan. He begins helping me set up the tech involved for such an evening, and things keep seeming to go wrong.

A few friends and people I know from Sober Soc start arriving. I feel an overwhelming pressure to play hostess, whilst trying to resolve a technical situation that I am not qualified to fix.

I wonder how many people would arrive in total, and whether we’ll fill the tables that had been kindly set up for us.

A little while later, the set up is finally working. I’m Mic Check One Two-ing into the microphone and pacing the stage. I’m also shaking with nerves, but people don’t seem to notice.

I want to start with the quiz, but some people are yet to arrive. Someone suggests singing a few songs on karaoke while we wait, and I can’t think of anything worse.

“Yes, let’s do it!” I say, confidently, hoping someone else will bite the bullet.

All eyes are on me and I realise it’s down to me to start.

Very kindly, my flatmate offers to get up with me to perform Islands in the Stream (which we may or may not have spent hours practicing beforehand).

I cringe at myself as I fail to hit some of the more difficult notes, but the small audience puts me at ease with their wide eyes and ear-to-ear grins. This isn’t so bad, I think.

At the end of the song, everyone applauds, and several people put up their hands indicating they’d like a go.

After a few more people sing, I’m feeling a lot more relaxed. I don’t even mind getting up on stage and speaking into the microphone anymore.

I have successfully faked it 'til I made it!

I’ve prepared an elaborate PowerPoint to accompany the Christmassy quiz, and I end up having a great time reading out the questions and laughing along with the quiz teams.

I reach the last slide of the quiz, explaining the (optional) bonus round for which five extra points will be awarded to the team that gets up and sings the best. I expect one or two teams will be up for it, but I don’t want to put pressure on anyone.

I’m in shock as I ask who’d like to get involved.

Every single person raises their hand.

Team by team, they get up on stage and sing their hearts out – totally sober. I feel warm in my heart.

They sing amazingly (sometimes hilariously), and we all laugh a lot.

Towards the end of the evening, I give out prizes and talk a little about sober Christmas. People seem genuinely happy, at ease, and pleased about our night full of fun without drinking.

I feel gratitude for every person in the room, and I know that I'm lucky to be here

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