How to party hard without a drop to drink

Straight-edge fun can be just as rewarding, and guarantees no hangover

Partying when you're sober can feel like it results in pressure from your peers, but there are tips for those who want to have fun without a drink.

Straight-edge fun can be just as rewarding, and guarantees no hangover

Stephanie Wray carries a tray of whisky sours to waiting guests at the Upstairs Cabaret. Looking at this experienced server, you would never guess she doesn’t drink. Yet Wray is among a growing minority of university and college-age students that choose not to drink without sacrificing a great nightlife.

Although it may seem an uncommon choice for someone who doesn’t drink, Wray enjoys her job. Working in the clubs gives her a place where she can party with friends, while still making money and going to school — the best of both worlds.

“It doesn’t bother me,” says Wray of being sober in a crowd of drunks. “I really like working in the industry because I am still getting to see all those people I would be going out with, except I get paid.”

A major factor in the decision to remain sober is remaining in control. “It’s fun, drama free and safe,” says Tasha Sandii, a UVic exchange student from Chicago. “It is much better than ending up messy.”

And some just don’t like drinking.

“I don’t like the taste of alcohol,” says Olga Andino, a Camosun student. “I don’t understand how people can drink it so fast. I am usually the one slowly sipping my shot.”

Because of this, Andino feels there is a divide between her and her drinking companions. They get upset when she is not drinking, she says, so advises other sober partiers to be as outgoing as possible.

Sadie Evans, a UVic student, sympathizes. “You have to make a bit more of an effort, be high energy and also know when to leave,” says Evans. “It will always get to that point where you are the sober one and everyone else isn’t.”

The great thing about being “the sober one” is that you are in control of how your night goes. You can still drive, and can leave anytime you want. However, the ability to make sure your friends get home safe is an added bonus.

The key to keeping up with the drunk crowd is remaining in a legal high. Evans, for example, uses sugar, caffeine and sometimes a little candy to keep her energy up into the wee hours of the morning.

Sandii, Evans, Wray and Andino agree that the key to achieving bar-star status while sober is a combination of high energy, confidence and great social skills. “Sober parties can be just as fun as non-sober parties,” says Sandii. “It is all about the energy in the room.”

A highlight of the sober party life is watching the hilarious things others do, says Wray. Being the sober person in a crowd gives you the opportunity to view the bar or club differently. Take the time to check out some of the crazy dance moves. Maybe you will notice the guy with the strobe light superman shirt or the girl doing the funky chicken.

Remaining sober on a Saturday night is still a minority choice but, as Wray points out, the idea of being sober is growing. “It is becoming more normal and it’s really cool for people who do drink to be able to see we are still able to have an awesome time and not be drinking.” M

Straight-edge fun

If you choose to participate in the sober bar scene, here are three things every sober partier should know:

1. Put your Coke in a fancy glass.

Putting your juice, pop or Red Bull in a sleeve, wine glass or martini glass works to keep the drunks off your case and trick people into thinking you are drinking.

2. Be outgoing.

The bigger your smile and dance moves the less people are going to feel the need to hassle you.

3. Don’t apologize.

Stand firm in your choice. Your reasons for not drinking are totally yours. Don’t feel pressure to drink. You can have just as much fun sober as you can drunk.


Still prefer partying with the heavy stuff? Check out “Your Party Survival Guide.”

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