5 Ways to Deal with Being the Only Sober Person in the Room

Supervisor EBD (female) is a current minimal drinker, who entered University as a non-drinker and started drinking during university. EBD has an academic and personal interest in this topic, specifically in how people who drink little or no alcohol navigate their decisions. A predominately qualitative design via semi-structured, remote (video-call or telephone) one-to-one interviews and two quantitative measures of social inclusion and well-being via an online survey. Remote delivery of this research was due to United Kingdom COVID-19 restrictions. Purposive sampling was not used, it was hoped people with a range of experiences and characteristics would volunteer.

How do you stay sober when everyone around you drinks?

  1. Be honest: Explain to your friends that you want to stop drinking and that sometimes, it's hard to avoid temptation.
  2. Confide in someone close to you: Having a supportive friend or family member on call for those difficult situations is crucial.

If the moment becomes too overwhelming, make sure you have a way to step outside and collect yourself or just leave and go home. I’m all for people getting pissed and talking shit to each other. Far be it from me to dish out advice to the UK’s thriving pisshead community. There was the bleary-eyed musician in a pub who aggressively claimed I’d touched his guitar.

Short Term vs. Long Term Sobriety

This is because it often goes unnoticed and people may not be aware of it. Sober shaming is when someone makes someone feel uncomfortable about not drinking. At the most basic being sober around drinkers level, when you’re sober, you’re the opposite of drunk. You haven’t started drinking, have waited enough time since your last drink to sober up, or abstain from drinking.

Addiction affects your whole life, including your relationships, career, health, and psychological well-being. Treatment success depends on examining the way alcohol abuse has impacted you and developing a new way of living. The first step is often to consult your primary care doctor or GP. Your doctor can evaluate your drinking patterns, diagnose any co-occurring disorders, assess your overall health, and offer treatment referrals. They may even be able to prescribe medication to help you quit.


Obviously, you aren’t likely to avoid alcohol all the time. Weddings, shows, and even art galleries usually serve alcohol. https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/15-benefits-of-the-alcohol-free-lifestyle/ And, of course, your friends may want to go to bars, clubs, or other events where alcohol is one of the main attractions.

  • I no longer care if my sobriety is “surprising,” or makes other people feel uncomfortable.
  • However, this can be really upsetting and damaging to some people, especially those people who may have struggled with their relationship with alcohol in the past.

Societal shifts in the past few decades have contributed to higher alcohol consumption in those older cohorts. Women started drinking more, and people started drinking at home. Supermarkets made alcohol easily available, and affordable. For James, who is in his mid-50s, what finally convinced him to ditch the booze was waking up hungover after a workplace Christmas party. He had been a social drinker, and also drank at home three or four nights a week. “It was beginning to affect my health – just getting out of bed was harder,” he says.

Sobriety can feel lonely, but you are not alone.

We’ve consulted Merriam-Webster, and the word of the day is sober. It comes from the Middle English word sobre. I imagine a man drowning in the ocean, who just before going under for the last time sees a ship sailing towards him. There is nothing like the return of hope to a person who had lost theirs.

Can I drink if my husband is in recovery?

Keeping alcohol in the house does not fit into your spouse's new, healthy, and positive lifestyle. Even if you drink a small amount of alcohol, that can be a trigger your spouse. For your spouse's health and recovery, keep alcohol out of sight and out of mind.

‘Coming out’ as a non-drinker is approached with caution for fear of being considered an outsider (Conroy and de Visser, 2014). Last week, I met two women in a local pub and we sat for a couple of hours in a beer garden. I didn’t know them very well but we had such a great time together that I’m sure we’re going to become good friends. We were also joined by some friends of theirs. The conversation was lively, funny, serious, interesting and engaging.

It is important to make sure you surround yourself with people who want to help and support you on recovery journey. If you can, try to limit time with negative people. It’s crazy, but telling your social circle you don’t drink is sometimes harder than not drinking in the first place. Sobriety is so much more than a decision about your physical health and emotional well-being—it has a huge effect on your social life. And as I found out when I gave up drinking, that doesn’t just mean suffering awkward moments every time you hit a bar with friends. It wasn’t drinking in bars that was my downfall—it was drinking too much, period.

being sober around drinkers

The codebook aimed to summarise the themes identified by creating shared meanings of the data. Advantages of using Microsoft Word were, the computerised format was easy to manage and organise quotations as opposed to physical paper copies due to the large quantity. Microsoft Word allowed for notes to be added to the margins when highlighting individual quotations. This allowed for ease of access to quotes and themes. You aren’t to blame for your loved one’s drinking problem and you can’t make them change. Don’t make excuses for your loved one’s behavior.

Emotional Sobriety

What needs to happen is for you to learn to navigate the world around you with alcohol in it. Alcohol is in parks, by rivers, on picnics, in people’s gardens. Dual diagnosis refers to the presence of both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder, such as addiction. To be better prepared, it’s important to develop some go-to responses ahead of time for how you’ll politely turn down a drink or handle questions about why you’re not drinking.

If your friends drink too much while you’re struggling with staying sober, know you’re not alone. It can be difficult being sober around drinkers. At Gateway Foundation, we take the time to understand the triggers keeping you from staying sober. For over 50 years, our compassionate team of professionals has helped individuals overcome addiction with evidence-based, personalized and life-saving addiction treatment. While the way you ask will vary depending on your current relationship dynamic, most cases will involve asking the question, accepting the answer and making a plan for the future.

Whether you want to quit drinking altogether or cut down to healthier levels, these guidelines can help you get started on the road to recovery today. There have been a handful of previous qualitative studies aiming to understand the experiences of young people who drink little or no alcohol. Little research has specifically examined areas of social integration and bonding at University. Similar to the present research, Ireland (2019) explored the experiences of transitioning into university as a non-drinker by interviewing eight students in their first year at University.

  • So we kind of mutually negotiated it would be okay to leave after a couple of hours.
  • Your doctor can evaluate your drinking patterns, diagnose any co-occurring disorders, assess your overall health, and offer treatment referrals.
  • Sober shaming is when someone makes someone feel uncomfortable about not drinking.
  • A drinking relapse doesn’t mean you’re a failure or that you’ll never be able to reach your goal.

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