Date and have fun while going sober or drinking less

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Parties, weddings, concerts reopening, a delayed catch-up: the social calendar is back in full swing after nearly three years of pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions.

For some, this new activity begins Peer Pressure to Quit Alcohol – A challenge if you’re trying to quit drinking, abstain from alcohol, or just drink less.

“The hardest part about not drinking is other people’s perception of it,” says Millie Gooch, founder of the Sober Girl Society and author of The Sober Girl Society Handbook. She quit drinking over four years ago. She said, “I got a lot: ‘Oh, you’re going to get bored now.’ I still get it every now and then.” ”

Gooch is part of a growing moderation movement. Her UK-based group supports young women who want to cut back and drink less by offering practical advice on how to socialize, date and enjoy cocktails. It is intended to She hosts no-drink brunches and other meetups.

“I’m a cold shaker myself, and it was a reflection of my own drinking,” Gooch said. “I wanted everyone to drink.”

A study published in July found that alcohol consumption is unhealthy for those under the age of 40. CNN spoke with Gooch for sharing tips on how to rethink your relationship with alcohol.

The conversation below has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

CNN: Why did you write the “Sober Girl Society Handbook”?

Millie Gooch: I had been sober for 6 months and was 27 years old. I haven’t been able to find support for an issue that resonates with me. There was a preconceived notion that AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) was all men in their 50s. It felt like a lot of the books on this topic were either clearly aimed at people in his 40s or were about actual rock bottom alcoholism and not about the in-between stages. They talked about how they got sober but didn’t focus on what to do after that. How to go on a date sober? how is the wedding going

Those were the main things I wrote in the book. There’s a little bit of my story, but it also includes self-help and resources. It’s about how to really get out and live as a person in a world where alcohol is so normalized and you don’t drink.

CNN: What made you want to quit alcohol?

Gooch: I really started drinking when I entered college.My drinking was very party girl, binge drinking, blackout drinking.

Drinking always put me in a really dangerous and vulnerable situation. I was waking up in a place I didn’t want to be — with that devastating fear of what I would say or do the next day.

I was never really a daily drinker. I used to go out every few weeks on a supposedly odd weeknight. The reason I stopped drinking was mainly for my mental health. It really makes me uneasy.

CNN: What was it like to be sober?

Gooch: One of the things I realized when I quit drinking was that I had no idea how to deal with my emotions. Every time I was stressed or heartbroken, I almost went out and got really drunk. So I had all these feelings. I was really overwhelmed. To find out the root cause of why I was feeling the need to drink, I saw a therapist.

Drinking alcohol gives you a synthetic sense of confidence that wears off the next day. I’m not really sure. In order to let go and meet people, I had to push myself out of my comfort zone.

CNN: Do you have any advice for people who want to drink less?

Gooch: Many of us drink unconsciously. Understand why you drink Is it because you’re happy and want to celebrate? Or are you drinking because you’re stressed and don’t want to deal with the problem emotions?

There are many resources out there. By following sober accounts and splitting your Instagram feed, you’re not just having a constant stream of brunches and nights out.

Be honest about how many units (drinks) you are drinking. There are many good apps. (She recommended something called Try Dry.)

The Sober Girl Society is part of the growing moderation movement.

CNN: How do you deal with peer pressure over drinking?

Gooch: Let’s be honest. Don’t lie about having to (need) take antibiotics to get home. I’ll pick you up.” I don’t know if it’s going to last forever, but I’m really hoping for your support as I’m trying to cut back. ”

If you don’t want to drink a lot, say, “Actually, can I skip tonight’s round? I just want to have a few drinks. I’m serious about my relationship with alcohol.” ”

Practice standing in front of a mirror so that you feel comfortable saying these things before you go out if necessary. I joined a WhatsApp group and was like, “As you know girls, I’m not drinking tonight.” Because they have time to get over it.

CNN: Any advice on dating sober?

Gooch: Get in shape before heading out. Playlists are always good. Also, before you go out, try to get rid of nervous energy by running, for example.

Meet whenever you feel comfortable.Perhaps check to see if they have delicious non-alcoholic drinks. It feels more sophisticated than “…a Diet Coke, please.”

We shouldn’t judge about it, but we do in some cases. I’ve found that just talking to them up front gives them a chance to decide if they want to date me. I think it’s best to get out of there. If people are funny about it, it’s not the type of person you want to be with.

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