Many individuals throughout the US choose not to drink or use drugs. Many of these people still have a great time even without alcohol or other substances. It’s not uncommon to believe that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. How could anybody have fun without using substances? After all, substances are the centerpiece of any party right?

It is more than possible to have fun at a party without alcohol; plenty of people do so regularly. Parties aren’t about how much of a substance you can use; they’re about the people you’re spending time with. Below are some tips on how to party without alcohol or drugs. 

Know Your Story

While it is admirable to be combating substance use disorder and brave to be disciplined enough not to succumb to substance use disorder, it may not be the conversation starter to lead with when someone offers you a drink. Sometimes it could turn people away. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be honest, but it does mean you don’t need to disclose your entire life story. 

Some ways to tell someone you’re not interested in a drink are as simple as saying, “I’m not drinking tonight. I’m trying to stay clean.”. If anyone is worth their salt then they will respect it. If they don’t, stand your ground. 

no drugs party

Peer pressure isn’t worth the chance of suffering from substance use disorder or relapsing back into substance use disorder. When you’re convicted of the fact that you are staying clean, it’ll become a lot more difficult for someone else to commit to trying to get you to partake. 

Capitalize on Your Recovery

When partying, it’s typical to see people around you plastered out of their minds. This could make it seem as though you are being a stick in the mud or not having a good time, but this is only true if you’re not having a good time. 

You don’t have to wait until the music is playing super loud to have a good time. Taking advantage of your effort to recover is a good way to have a fun time at a party. After all, the best nights are the ones we remember.

Get Creative

It’s easy during the day to order a coke with grenadine or ginger ale, but at night, things are different. Whether it’s been a long day, or it’s just a force of habit, it’s hard not to order a drink. Firstly there’s the pressure of being an adult. You’re ordering your beverage and everybody’s watching. Do they know you’re not ordering alcohol? Is it okay not to order alcohol? These are common and completely normal thoughts to have.

Sober party

The good news about all of this is that nobody is watching you. People don’t care as much as we think they do. That being said, if you are still bothered by everyone else having a drink in their hands it may be beneficial to order a virgin drink in a fancy glass with an umbrella.

Be Transparent 

It always seems like people want to get you into trouble when you’re trying so hard to do well with your life. The fact is there will be many individuals who are displeased with your responsible decisions, but this is your life; it’s not theirs. 

The best thing to do in a situation like this is to be completely transparent. When you’re able to own the person you are, or the person you want to be, being honest comes a lot more naturally, regardless of what anybody else thinks of you. 

Stay Positive

There are many difference-makers in the lives of those seeking new disciplines; one of those difference makers is positivity. Positivity is easy when everything is going right, but when life throws you curveballs, like substance use disorder, it becomes a lot more difficult to remain chipper. This is because our actions tend to be reflective of our current circumstances. 

It’s cause and effect, so how does someone remain positive when they’re going through what seems like the worst most awkward time of their life?

Some ways to deal with difficult situations include accepting your circumstances, focusing on some positive light to hold onto, or even just putting one foot in front of the other (metaphorically). When facing hard situations that are out of our control, it is easy to lose sight of what we can control. The only thing someone can hold onto for certain is the way that they respond to the situation.

Observe

Another way you can party without drinking is simply observing others. When you’re at a party, there’s no shortage of people watching. Observing how they interact with others while they’re inebriated may be a good way to put substance use disorder behavior into perspective. There are also other benefits to observing other people instead of partaking in substance use disorder. One of these benefits could include having a fun story to tell at the next party or gathering (not to make fun of someone, but to have fun with them; maybe to balance it out, come up with a story with the punchline being at your own expense). 

Play All of the Games

Playing games such as beer pong, corn-hole, flip cup, or never-have-I-ever are fun ways to spice up a party, but people usually want to play them when they’re drunk. While this may seem as though it’s impossible to have fun playing these games without alcohol, one must remember that drunkenness or being high impairs a person’s ability to play well. This means, if you’re not drinking, it will make it much easier for you to win. This way, you can make the games interesting and be the life of the party. Everybody will remember how good you are at drinking games. The only rule to doing this is simple: don’t drink. 

avoid drugs at parties

Become Someone Else

Being at a party and not being able to partake in alcohol or drugs may seem as though they have their drawbacks, but they also have their benefits. If you’re at a party where those attending aren’t familiar with you, or if you’re at a party where everybody is too drunk to care, make up an alternate personality. 

This sounds crazy, but as long as this is being done while you are aware that it’s crazy, then it probably isn’t that wild and you’re perfectly healthy mentally. Coming up with an alter-ego could be a fun way to either meet new people or have fun/silly conversations with those you already know and love. 

Come Up With a New Game

Parties have their fair share of games and fun, but when things get stale, it can be easy to slip into a pattern of behavior that elicits drunkenness. While aiming for a life of going clean, it is imperative to stay away from behaviors that will lead to a substance use disorder. When games get boring, the more impaired individuals will exercise their lack of judgment in ways that are a danger to both themselves and everyone around them. 

However, if they are introduced to new, more fun games (thought of beforehand or on the spot) it will take their attention away from the more dangerous activities thought up by their drunken selves. 

Accept Yourself

The most difficult part of dealing with substance use disorder is perhaps having to accept yourself for who you are. Being vulnerable is a difficult part of life, and being vulnerable with yourself, allowing yourself to be a mistake-ridden individual is a very difficult task to accomplish.

Everybody wants to be validated by others in some way or another. It is one of the biggest ways that we fall into situations such as addiction. However, once you accept yourself for the person you want to be, the healthy individual who is strong and brave, the decisions you make and the person you become much easier to accept. 

There Will Always be Opportunities to Say Yes; Practice Saying No

No matter where you go or what you do in life, there will always be someone there to offer you something that seems better or more socially acceptable. Holding these offers up to an objective light, however, is imperative to successful outcomes. Holding people’s offers accountable for the truth that is in them, or the impact it will have on your own life will allow you to make better choices, should you choose to say no. 

Discovery New Jersey is Here for You

At Discovery New Jersey, we know that it’s not easy to overcome substance use disorder. There are so many pressures that exist in our society that it’s becoming more and more difficult to say no. However, this doesn’t mean you’re alone. Just as some party without drugs and alcohol, there are also individuals who have a hard time saying no to partying with drugs and alcohol. If you or a loved one can relate and would like to find out more, you can contact us here.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.