Tips for Staying Sober and Happy in College

Whether you’re new to living sober or you’ve been on the wagon for a long time but are unsure how to behave when you’re surrounded by drunken people, this article is for you. When you’re headed to college it’s inevitable that people will be drinking around you, and you may be worried you’ll miss out if you can’t attend a party sober. Read on for helpful suggestions on staying sober and happy throughout college.

1. Be honest with yourself and others.

The first step is to understand your reasons why you want to be sober. Is it to save money, for health reasons, or because you struggle with addiction or the feeling that alcohol gives you? If you know your reasons for doing it and how important they are to you, it becomes easier to stay strong when you might otherwise be tempted. Even though it’s nobody’s business but yours, you will be asked by almost everyone around you why you’re not drinking (if they notice), and you need to be ready to answer, even if it’s just to tell them it’s for personal reasons.

Morgan Ritter, an educator at Big Assignments and State of Writing, tells people that “it’s helpful to share your sobriety journey with the people closest to you so that it feels like you have someone on your side supporting you. Tell them what you want from them, if anything, in terms of support. It will make going out much easier if you have a support network around you.”

2. Find a non-alcoholic drink you like.

Find a drink that you like to drink and can enjoy over the course of an evening. Water is great if you want to be healthy and cheap, but it can get boring. Soda has too much caffeine and sugar to drink straight all night. Consider making yourself a simple mocktail, like a mojito which is tasty, refreshing, and you’ll feel comfortable at the party with a drink in hand.

3. Think of the morning after.

It can be helpful to think of how you’ll feel in the morning. Hangovers can be terrible and lead to entire wasted days and weekends, and while everyone around you at the party will be feeling horrible in 12 hours, you’ll wake up refreshed and energized. If you find yourself wishing you could be sharing a drink with your friends, just remember how the entire next day will be spent feeling terrible and that should be enough to stop the urge. Fiona Givens, a health writer at Academized and Ox Essays, suggests that “it also helps to have a plan for the morning after, like a hike or another physical activity. This will make you feel great the night of but also the morning after when your friends are all busy sleeping off their hangover.”

4. Find like-minded people.

It may be hard in college, but look for other sober people in the same situation as you. If you can’t find any, don’t despair and look for online communities or AA meetings in your area. It helps to meet other people who are in similar situations or have had the same experiences as you. This is crucial for the moments that are harder to go through, and it helps knowing you have someone to reach out to that will tell you it’s not worth it and support you even when your college peers are not.

5. Avoid people who aren’t supportive.

There are always those people who will try to convince you to have a drink, tell you you’re boring for not drinking, or generally be unsupportive and close-minded. Try to avoid parties where they will be, and don’t spend any more time with them then you need to. It’s a sign of immaturity, and usually that attitude goes away once you leave college. Also, try to avoid spending time at parties with people you don’t like, either because they’re mean, self-absorbed, or silly, as they may make you feel like you need a drink just to handle them! In future, only accept party invites from people you like spending time with and you’ll see how easy it is to enjoy their company sober.

Chloe Bennet is an educator at Coursework Writing and Boom Essays. She writes about and for students. Also, Chloe enjoys creating lifehacks and sharing them online. She teaches academic writing Essay Roo portal.

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