I went to the Tame Impala concert last night (it was effing amazing, btw - you should check them out). I used to go to a ton of concerts and music festivals but was always drinking heavily so through years of habit, that was what I became accustomed to. If I am being perfectly honest, my first few sober concerts weren’t that fun. They felt awkward and I was hyper-aware of the fact that I was stone-cold sober and everyone else was drunk but they all seemed to be having so much fun. I was in a place of comparison, where I created a story that everyone at the concert was having way more fun than I was because they were drinking and at the end of the day, I wasn’t fun. I was boring. Because I wasn’t drinking.
But here’s the thing: I wasn’t having fun because I decided not to. I decided that I couldn’t have the fun I was used to because I wasn’t drinking. I was so focused on everyone else’s experience, that I didn’t focus on making mine enjoyable. Instead of stepping into all the fun I could be having, I focused on the absence of booze. I decided that everyone else was having more fun than me. I decided.
Cut to last night as I was dancing my ass off at Tame Impala, I had a reflection: having fun while sober is a choice. Yes, it might be awkward in the beginning. Because most of us starting drinking in our teens, we never learned how to have fun in ways that didn’t involve booze as adults. As our sober adult selves, this is now something we need to learn to do. And with anything else, learning something new takes practice so don’t beat yourself up over not nailing it the first time around.
When I think about my experience at the concert last night, I realized something important: I was having such a great time because I decided to. Yes, it may sound simple and obvious but it was a decision. I could have decided to focus on all the drunk people around me. I could have felt like I was missing out because I wasn’t drinking. I could have decided to feel self-conscious about the fact that I wasn’t drinking. But instead, I decided to have fun. I decided that I wanted to dance. I decided that I wanted to let loose. And the biggest one of all, is that I decided I didn’t care what anyone else around thought of that.
The end result? One of the most fun nights I’ve had all summer. The biggest lesson? I always get to decide how things unfold for me. And so do you.
PS - for more inspo on the topic of having fun in sobriety, check out my article NO FUN: Life in Sobriety.