Sober curious? Learn how to party without the hangover

Giving up grog doesn’t have to be boring – or isolating. Check out these ideas for kicking up your heels on a weekend, without the next-day regrets.

If you’ve decided to give up alcohol, or just feeling sober-curious, you needn’t worry that it will spell the end of your social life.

In Dry July, experts share their top tips for partying without booze.

1.     Find your tribe

Firstly, you don’t have to do this alone – and it’s easier if you don’t. Not for profits like Hello Sunday Morning and Untoxicated offer access to communities and experts for support, as well as like-minded souls for sober socialising.

“There’s lots of people who want to socialise without booze for a whole raft of reasons, not only because they have a problem with drinking,” Untoxicated founder Faye Lawrence says.

“It could be cultural reasons, religious, health reasons, sport or it’s not good for their mental health.

“There’s so many groups popping up now on Facebook to tap into for tips on going out without drinking or finding new sober friends to go out with.

“And it doesn’t have to be boring – you could go to the theatre, or the movies, or switch your focus to planning something in the day instead.”

2.     Get your buzz on naturally

Knocking back a glass of vino or five isn’t the only way to trigger those feel-good chemicals endorphins on a Saturday night.

“There are plenty of ways to get the endorphins flowing without the booze, why not try a silent disco, or ice skating,” Faye says.

“Dancing in the dark and No Lights, No Lycra events and even axe throwing are some other options.

“You might be surprised by how much you enjoy trying something new – it can be easy to get stuck doing the same things when alcohol is involved.”

If you are dying to bust out some stumble-free dance moves, a night of salsa could be just the ticket.

The sassy Cuban dance culture often attracts dancers who prefer softies to shots, and there’s bound to be a meetup group in a city near you.

3.     Slay your inner demons

How can we bubble over with confidence without a glass of champagne in hand?

Hello Sunday Morning head of clinical innovation Dominique Robert-Hendren says for those relying on liquid courage to feel more relaxed, it can be important to do some self-work.

“One of the key things is nurturing your inner coach, and inner critic – being aware of negative self-talk, and mindfully replacing them with positive talk,” Dominique says.

4.     Throw a house party with a twist

Dominique says a booze-free event at home can be a great way to dip your toe in to a new lifestyle.

“You can create some buzz inducing mocktails, create a great ambience and really set up an environment of being present, and engaging more meaningfully,” she says.

5.     Embark on a mocktail mission

There’s nothing to mock about modern mocktail menus.

From Hawaiian/Japanese fusion cocktails in Adelaide, to Unicorn Lemonade in Brisbane (think sprinkles, fairy floss, and a lollipop), the humble mocktail is going next level.

Why not try a mocktail bar crawl around your city?  Victoria is even home to Australia’s first alcohol-free bar, Brunswick Aces.

6.     Seek inspo from others

The growing cultural shift to non-alcoholic options made it easier for Melbourne electrician Joe Slatter to stop drinking.

“I still go out like normal to friend’s parties or to bars, and I just drink mocktails,” Joe, 29, says.

“My mates have been shocked at how good the zero alcohol beers taste. You can even pick them up at a servo now!”

He says his newfound sobriety has changed his weekends for the better.

“It makes my lifestyle more flexible – I can drive, and do things the next morning,” he says.

“I don’t know how I had time for a hangover before.”

More on the health effects of alcohol:

Written by Elissa Doherty.