So you’re thinking about cutting out the booze (and all of the shitty baggage that comes with it)— but quitting drinking sounds pretty terrifying. Like, what do you even do sober? Luckily, fall is a great time to re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol. Summer months are behind us, and along with it folds the zillionth sandwich board proclaiming it’s #roseallday. Soon the holidays will be upon us, but for now, enjoy just breathing in that new autumn air. If you want to enjoy it hangover-free, here are our tips for how to have a cozy as hell fall.
1. Know your go-to drink
If you’ve gripped a glass of alcohol through football games, Halloween parties, and cozy nights at home, some new props are going to be needed. Building a sober “toolbox” full of new coping mechanisms to replace alcohol can be a massive step towards recovery. The first thing to throw into your toolbox is your new drink order. Knowing what you’d like to drink instead of booze before you’re faced with the question really helps. So what to choose! Water is just boring and sometimes it makes hosts feel like they’re not hosting you enough (“C’mon, just have a drink!”). Luckily we’re in the heyday of fizzy water and bottled mocktails, so that’s an easy order, but pick what you like. Whatever it is, don’t be shy about bringing it with you! Folks bring beer all the time— a six-pack of La Croix gifted to a party will keep your hands occupied the whole time.
2. Embrace ALL the clichés of autumn
And we mean all of them. One of the best parts of sobriety is that it gives us the chance to embrace our inner kid— to find what brings us joy and lean into those moments. So take full advantage of all the pseudo-silly things that this season brings: pumpkin patches, haunted houses, those freaking Pumpkin Spice Lattes (“PSL” for those in the know), apple picking, cider donuts, HAY RIDES. Hay rides, folks!! You can actually do a hay ride now because a hayride hungover is the literal definition of hell. Anyway, do all the things just because you can. Practice giving yourself permission!
3. Party like a teetotaler
Halloween = parties. If you choose to go (also note: you never have to!) you’re likely thinking: “a Halloween party? Sober? Absolutely not.” But remember that once upon a time, Halloween was actually just about dressing up and eating ridiculous amounts of candy. Yet somehow along the way, Halloween has transformed into an excuse to blackout with a mask on. Our alternative proposal: party like a teetotaler. Buy a ton of candy and snacks, get some apples bobbing, and whip up your new favorite Halloween mocktails.
4. Go incognito to tailgate with the best of ‘em
Most of us can get on board with tailgating fare— hotdogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, queso. Unfortunately, tailgates and beer seem to go together like buffalo wings and blue cheese, and this might be a challenge if you’re still getting used to being sober. Enter the humble koozie. (Apparently, also known in some regions as a “stubby hubby,” or for the more technical amongst us, “insulated beverage sleeve.”) Koozies are football’s gift to sober shys: while all the folks around us are going hard on their cheap beer, the koozie lets us drink a La Croix without confrontation. Bring one with you in your bag or purse, slip it on your NA bev of choice, no one is the wiser. (Except you, you wise one.)
5. Get outside!!!
It’s lovely to walk without relentless humidity coming at you from all sides, and this is reason enough to get outside and connect with nature. From bike rides to leisurely strolls, spending time in the crisp outdoors helps boost your mood and gives you something to do with friends besides sit at a bar. Whether you live in the country, suburbs, or a city— there’s likely a park, hiking trail, or a pretty neighborhood to explore. Plus, getting some fresh air is proven to reduce stress and help us feel more present.
6. Stay indoors!!!
If you’re not down for outdoor activities, that’s cool too. Fall is cozy; embrace the hygge instead. Friends often default to suggesting drinks at a bar because it’s easier than having to come up with something else. Be the friend that suggests something different! Have a dinner party or host a Netflix screening (hot tip: screening makes it sound fancier than watching a movie on your laptop). Best part is you don’t even have to change out of your sweats— and as a matter of fact, go ahead and make that last one a house rule.
7. Breathe through the holidays
Holidays can swing wildly between awesome and exhausting, frolicking and fighting. Meditation is a great tool to stay grounded during this turbulent time. Download one of the dozens of meditation apps out there like Insight Timer or Calm and give it a try. If you’re not ready for that, you can approach meditation differently by writing down a short gratitude list. Try doing this practice first thing in the morning. It can take a little bit of time to get used to incorporating something new into your routine, but just writing down a couple of things you’re grateful for each morning really is an amazing way to start the day. And on the days that don’t feel so awesome, you can pull out your list for a quick shift in perspective.
We know that as the months get colder and the nights grow longer, staying sober can feel challenging — but at the end of the day it’s all about perspective, support, and having the right tools at the ready. So bundle up, take it easy, and enjoy the wonders of life hangover-free.