It’s easy to feel that virtually all socialising revolves around alcohol. Post-work drinks on Friday; pre-dinner drinks on Saturday, your best mate’s Birthday on Tuesday and so on.
When you take those first steps on your OYNB journey, socialising without the usual glass of wine or beer in your hand can feel tough. But hang in there: it gets much easier.
Resetting how you socialise can help. The key for many people embarking on OYNB is finding activities and groups that focus on something other than drinking. There are dozens of physical, sociable and creative activities out there to engage your mind and body.
Do Something Different Today
So what’s everyone up to, once they call time on drinking alcohol and start seeking out new horizons? A quick straw poll of a few OYNB-ers reveals a wide range of interesting possibilities:
- Climb Every Mountain
Ever thought of climbing? A friend once described it as being ‘like vertical yoga, with more adrenaline.’ It’s not a bad description. Like yoga, there is a cerebral element and virtually every muscle group is engaged at the same time.
Physically, it’s brilliant for both upper and lower body strength as well as using your core muscles and enhancing flexibility. Mentally, it can nurture a sense of empowerment and achievement (it’s easy to make progress relatively quickly).
And that adrenaline rush? Better than a hangover any day.
- Yogic Lol’s
Ever heard of Laughter Yoga? For the uninitiated, it does exactly what it says on the tin. Yoga, with lol. If being in a group, giggling at someone barking during downward-facing dog is your thing; then you’ve found your people.
It isn’t for everyone, but if you’re missing the social side of drinking alcohol, being in a group and cracking daft jokes, then you could do worse than trying a Laughter Yoga session. It’s like the good bits of those high-spirited nights out, without the alcohol-related negatives.
- Ciao! Fancy Learning a New Language?
Lucy made the most of her OYNB and started the Italian language lessons that she’d been promising herself. “I hankered after speaking Italian for years, but somehow never got around to committing to an evening class. Doing OYNB unearthed motivation I honestly never knew I possessed. I also made some new friends – having a shared goal was fun and stimulating.”
If you’re not up for learning a language, how about flamenco guitar? Roller Derby? Zumba? Circus skills? Horse riding? Parkour? No kidding; there is so much to do out there and some serious alcohol-free fun to be had.
If you’re more of a crafty type and live within a stone’s throw of a reasonably bustling town or city, then here’s a snapshot of the kind of groups that might be available to keep your hands busy and meet new people:
- Chocolate making
- Spoon carving
- Pottery and ceramics
- Textile workshops
- Sugar craft
Some or none of these might be up your street, but the point is that there is a lot of stuff going on. What’s more, it’s easy to be oblivious to it all if you’re sitting in the pub or working your way through a bottle of wine at home.
Help Someone Out
Depending on where you live, there’s likely to be a range of volunteering opportunities available. Whether you can put in a few hours at a charity shop, join a conservation initiative or sort through donations to a food co-op: find something that you enjoy doing and that plays to your strengths.
If life/work/family commitments prevent you from making a regular volunteering pledge, then think smaller. Is there an elderly neighbour who might welcome a hand with their shopping? Someone who struggles to mow their lawn or cut their hedge? An hour or so out of your life can mean the world to someone in need.
Easy, Breezy Times
Once you’ve made the decision to stop drinking, you’ll find so many things to fill your days and evenings that you’ll wish you’d started OYNB sooner!
- Grab some friends and go for an early morning hike with a breakfast picnic
- Hit the nearest beach or lakeside
- Take the dog/kids/your mates for a fun run
- Start a vegetable patch
- Try orienteering
- Discover a new mountain biking trail
- Write something: a poem, a letter, a screenplay…whatever inspires you
- Join a book group
- Go to an open mic night
- Take part in an open mic night!
- Travel somewhere new: as far as your time and budget will allow
Seize the Day, Every Day
You’re embarking on one of the most empowering journeys of your adult life and shaking things up in a really good way.
People who haven’t tried OYNB can think of it as being restrictive. After all, you’re giving something up, right?
The welcome irony is that when you go alcohol-free, it starts to feel less like you’ve given something up, and more like you’re suddenly getting so much out of life.
Who knows? There might be a moment when you’re 70 feet high on a climbing rope or swinging through the air on a trapeze that you realise just how gloriously liberating OYNB really is!