Being teetotal (and tips on surviving a sober night-out)

Hi, I’m Nikki, and I don’t drink.   

That’s not how I usually introduce myself, I promise. But after reading all the Go Sober for October statuses and tweets, I felt it was time to broach the subject on my blog. But it’s a bit of an unusual, personal one, so bear with me.

My story

I’ve never really been into drinking. I suppose you could say I’ve been pretty teetotal since I was a teenager.

Whenever I tell people this, the first thing they want to know is why. I’m imagining you’re wondering the same thing. It’s a fair enough question – and I have a lot of different answers:

  • I’m a bit of an odd’un. For me, drinking results in almost instant nausea and dizziness, which isn’t usually a recipe for fun. Perhaps it’s anxiety, perhaps it’s an intolerance. But the ‘why’ doesn’t really matter to me. If it doesn’t feel good, I’m not going to force myself to do it.
  • I’ve got the sober personality of a drunk Sorority girl. There is absolutely no need to add alcohol to that mix. 
  • After not really drinking for my teenage years and the whole of University (except a couple of curious sips of my friends’ Pimms and quad-vods) it’s just become a part of who I am. And that’s OK

These are honest answers. But sometimes I don’t feel like people deserve complete honesty from me. Why? Just occasionally, revealing you don’t drink can elicit some rude, bothersome, irritating reactions from people. So when they demand ‘why?’, with a horrified look on their face, I make up a reason.

Here’s a few of my previous lies (feel free to steal if you’re also teetotal and bothered):

  • ‘I have an addictive personality. I’ve been sober for 20 years now.’ (Just to confuse people as they mentally subtract a couple of decades from my baby face.)
  • ‘It’s against my religion. I’m a mormon. Like Donny Osmond.’
  • ‘I’m on some pretty strong medication right now …’ (and then go into details of your fictional illness).

For the most part, my non-drinking goes unnoticed. I’m quite proud of my ability to blend in with my drunkard pals.

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d share a few tips for surviving sobriety. Whether you’re thinking about trying Dry January, you fancy a night out without the hangover, or if you’re just curious, enjoy:

The other drunks

When I talk about not drinking with my friends who do drink (i.e. everyone who isn’t me), their biggest concern is about hanging out with other drunk people.

‘They must be unbearable if you’re sober!’ they say. Well, let me tell you, hanging out with drinkers is all about perception. If you think of drunk people as annoying, they’ll be annoying. Approach the situation with humour (drunks are basically giant babies with slightly worse coordination) and you’ll possibly have one of the funniest evenings of your life.   

My advice? Just join in. Sing out-of-tune with all the songs, run down the street, dance like a maniac (I do this one a little too well) and insist on greasy junk food at 2am.    

Drunk conversations can also be hilarious. I do like an abstract chat that defies logic, social convention and moral barriers.

Remember the benefits

  • No hangovers. 
  • No vomming in your hair at 1am. Stay classy, guys. 
  • Saving money. Like, a lot of money. 
  • You’ll sleep better. 
  • You’re generally a bit healthier (I’d really hate to see the state of a drinking-Nikki).
  • You’re normally the one with the camera full of potential blackmail. I’m not suggesting you blackmail your friends. But y’know, if you had to, you could. 

I cannot guarantee no regret. I’ve yet to log onto Facebook after a night out and not cringe at a photo of me. There’s at least two videos of me rapping. To Eminem. And Lady Sovereign. Whilst wearing pyjamas. And that was only last month.

So, maybe you won’t have a night of no embarrassing moments. But at least you’ll remember it clearly.

Treat yourself to something delicious

You’re not limited to water or flat cola. Most bars offer some pretty tasty non-alcoholic alternatives, like tasty mocktails and fancy sodas.

I promise I won’t judge you, so don’t judge me

I’m the only non-drinker I know. And although being sober has been incredibly easy for me, there’s still a few difficult moments.

There are the times you get included in a round at the bar before you’ve had a chance to explain you don’t drink (and once people have started necking Jaeger Bombs, it’s totally the wrong time to tell ’em), there’s the people that don’t understand and think you’re a massive weirdo, the people that make it their life’s mission to get you drunk (bellends, as they’re otherwise known), and the people who get super self-conscious and worry that you’ll judge them.

I find the last one the hardest sometimes because, I swear, I never judge. I enjoy it when you start talking slightly too loudly, get a bit over-emotional and huggy, dance like a lunatic (hey, I’m doing that too) and I won’t even notice when you repeat yourself.   

So, I won’t judge you. And hopefully you won’t judge me either.


  1. Anonymous
    October 24, 2015 / 6:00 am

    I admire you for this Nikki. No hangovers sounds great. Carol

  2. October 26, 2015 / 7:11 am

    I hope I'm aware of all blackmail! Alex G

  3. October 26, 2015 / 7:56 am

    Haha! Every funny video and photo I took made it to Facebook at Uni. You're far too well behaved to blackmail!

  4. October 26, 2015 / 7:56 am

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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