It’s 2 a.m., the dance floor is packed, and your favorite song is on, but you’re hunched over a toilet bowl ready to hurl. 

Going to parties sober may seem weird at first, but I’m a senior and have been doing it for three years, going on four now. I don’t drink, and for the foreseeable future I plan to keep it that way.

You may be thinking “that’s weird” or “who does that?” I know I’m in the minority. I’m here to vouch, however, that partying sober is not that bad. 

When we think of going out with friends, what’s the main goal of the night? To have fun. Some might say they want to get wasted, but it’s highly likely they want to get wasted in order to have fun. 

As I’m the only person who doesn’t drink alcohol in my group of friends, I commonly take the roles of designated driver, “mom,” or any other name for the most responsible group member. 

When I meet new people, and they find out I don’t drink, they often ask how I even have fun. Part of the enjoyment of going out with friends sober is knowing that someone — me — is alert and can address problems or situations you wouldn’t be able to when intoxicated. 

I like that I have the ability to see potential conflicts or dangers, stop my friends from drinking more than they should, and get them home and into bed safe.

In addition to feeling good about yourself, you can watch your friends act belligerently and have funny stories to tell later. Your wallet is also in significantly better shape than theirs, you won’t get MERTed, and you won’t projectile vomit on other people (or on the public transportation you took to get there).

There’s also a much lower chance you end up on a disgusting bathroom floor trying to collect yourself after drinking too much. You reduce the risk of ruining a friendship or relationship by sleeping with someone’s significant other, and you don’t have to pay inflated prices for garbage vodka from that one senior you know, or worry about the consequences of getting caught drinking while underage.

Many people have told me that they can’t have fun or go to a party unless they drink. I think that’s fundamentally wrong — you shouldn’t have to rely on substances to have fun. 

Drinking alcohol to have fun at parties comes with consequences, and the truth is you can become someone you don’t want to when under the influence. Although you gain that liquid confidence and can make decisions you normally wouldn’t when sober, those decisions and actions can be good or bad. 

The only way to be in complete control of yourself is to not drink. Many people say they know their limits, but if you haven’t eaten enough, haven’t drunk enough water, haven’t slept enough, then your limits are out the window.

Too many factors can upset your usual limits, and you can easily ruin the night for yourself and your friends.

I’m not discrediting the merits of alcohol — if used responsibly, you can have a really good time. The reality is that many people don’t adhere to their set limits when going out to party, as the line of reason easily blurs under the influence.

I’m not saying to go cold turkey and avoid drinking at parties at all — it’s just my personal preference. The next time you party, however, consider having less to drink or maybe try going sober. You’ll give your body a rest, get to know yourself and your friends better (and remember it), and maybe change your perspective. Plus you won’t end up with an aching hangover the next morning.

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