How To Throw a Fun Sober Party—and How To Party Sober

Coach reviewed by Jeffery D. Whitfield, CSAC, ICS, CCTP, IDP-AT on September 15, 2022

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In nearly any party setting, you can find people using alcohol to let loose and socialize. But when you don’t drink, planning a party of your own or meeting up with friends at a get-together can feel daunting. 

So, whether it’s New Year’s Eve or a summer birthday, how can you throw a sober party that’s actually fun? And if you’re going to someone else’s get-together, how can you make staying sober easier?

Here’s what you should know about how to party sober, including tips for hosting and strategies for enjoying yourself—even in environments where alcohol is being served.

Sober Party Ideas: Planning a Sober Party 101

friends gathered around a potluck table at a party
Photo by Cedric Fauntleroy on Pexels

Throwing a fun sober get-together all starts in the planning phase. Here’s what you need to know to make it a success:

The Invitations

First, take some time to think about who you feel will be a good match for your party—relatives who might insist on bringing booze are probably a no-go. 

After making your guest list, send out batches of invites clearly stating that there won’t be alcohol at the party. (The “alcohol-free” part doesn’t have to be the main focus of the invite, but just be sure to make it visible and clear for your guests.)

Start the Party While the Sun’s Out

Most people associate alcohol with the nighttime more than they do the daytime, so start your party while the sun is shining! It’s even better if the weather allows for an outdoor celebration, as you can put together some outside activities to keep everyone having fun. 

Focus on Food and Drink

Since you’ll be leaving out the alcohol, you can focus your energy on mixing up some festive, alcohol-free drinks for yourself and your guests. And if you’re not sure where to start, the good news is that there are tons of mocktail recipes out there for nearly any occasion. 

Here are a few virgin drink ideas to get your creativity flowing:

Aside from drinks, you can also focus on the food. Take the opportunity to bake your favorite cookies or whip up that recipe that you’ve wanted to try forever but haven’t found the excuse to make yet. You can invite your friends to bring their favorite snacks, too!

Think About the Location

If you aren’t planning on throwing the party at your house, take some time to consider the best location for it. For instance, a nearby beach, a nature-filled park, or a spacious backyard could all be great places to host an event.

Choosing the right surroundings can mean a wider variety of activities and a more entertaining environment for you and your guests.

Plan Some Sober Activities

During a celebration, people mainly drink to break the ice, let loose, and participate in a shared activity with other partygoers. For this reason, the best thing to do for an alcohol-free party is to plan other fun sober activities that people can bond over. 

For example, you could try these sober party ideas:

  • Family-friendly board games or card games. Or, if there’ll only be adults attending, you could try more daring games like “If You Had To” or “Never Have I Ever” for some laughs.
  • Outdoor yard games like cornhole or horseshoes
  • Biking, rollerblading, or longboarding 
  • Kayaking, canoeing, or other water activities
  • Grilling 
  • Enjoying the sunshine and nature
  • Watching a sporting event 
  • Listening to music and dancing
  • Having a bonfire
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How to Party Sober

friends gathered around a campfire with a guitar
Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels

Throwing your own sober party can be challenging enough, but what about when it’s someone else’s event? 

Here are some tips to help you enjoy any get-together while avoiding the booze:

Bring a Sober Friend

If possible, ask a sober or sober curious friend to accompany you to the event. This person can help you feel connected, even when you find yourself in a room full of others who are drinking. 

And if either of you feels uncomfortable or triggered throughout the night, you can act as each other’s accountability buddies and support systems.

Let Yourself Be Amused by Your Drunk Friends

When you’re one of the only sober people at a party, watching all of the drunk shenanigans can be quite entertaining! So, relax, have fun, and don’t hesitate to laugh about your inebriated friends’ antics.

Have an Alcohol-Free Drink In-Hand

Grab a seltzer, soda, or mocktail and carry it around with you throughout the duration of the party. Better yet, pour your drink into a red plastic cup! This can help you sidestep the chance of someone offering you alcohol or prying about why you’re not drinking.

Help Out and Get Involved

Finally, don’t be afraid to get involved in party activities. Set up games, help with the food, and clean up with the host. All of these little things can help you get engaged with your surroundings, connect, and totally forget about the fact that you’re partying sober.

The Bottom Line On Sober Partying

Whether you’re in recovery or sober curious, parties without alcohol can be tricky to figure out. And if you’ve been having trouble sticking to your guns when surrounded by friends who drink, you’re not alone. 

Fortunately, certain apps like Ria Health can help you achieve your alcohol use goals, whether you’re trying to cut back or stay sober altogether. When you sign up with Ria, you’ll gain access to a wide spectrum of evidence-based support—including recovery coaching, anti-craving prescriptions, and more—all from your smartphone.

Learn about how it works

Have questions about online alcohol treatment?

or call (800) 504-5360

Written By:
Alicia Schultz
Alicia is a Minnesota-based freelancer who writes for Ria Health and various other brands in the health and wellness space. Beyond addiction and recovery, she also covers topics relating to general well-being, mindfulness, fitness, mental health, and more. When she’s not writing, you can find her relaxing with her three-legged cat, trying new workout routines, and spending time with her loved ones.
Reviewed By:
Evan O'Donnell
Evan O’Donnell is an NYC-based content strategist with four years’ experience writing and editing in the recovery space. He has conducted research in sound, cognition, and community building, has a background in independent music marketing, and continues to work as a composer. Evan is a deep believer in fact-based, empathic communication—within business, arts, academia, or any space where words drive action or change lives.
Coach reviewed by Jeffery D. Whitfield, CSAC, ICS, CCTP, IDP-AT on September 15, 2022

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