Friends for life at Sober Socials
There is a stereotype that university socials are all about partying and getting drunk
I didn’t believe this until I started my first year and found the list of official freshers' events. I was worried that not wanting to drink meant I wouldn’t have any fun and waste my twenties. I had to dig deeper to find the socials, and people, that were right for me.
Coming to university for the first time
Before university, I tried parties. I knew I didn’t want to get drunk (I have emetophobia), so I was always the sober person. Unfortunately, this gave me the ‘designated driver’ role. I was the most responsible person in the room, giving me the pressure of making sure everyone was alright. I have friends that are really in their element when it’s their turn to be the mother hen of the party, but I felt overwhelmed by the pressure (and scared about my phobia, which became an issue many times).
To combat bad experiences, I avoided parties at university. I joined every society that sparked my interest and went to every alcohol-free event. I was disheartened by events that featured more alcohol than I was comfortable with, but that pushed me to look further for events that worked for me. I found events (sometimes hosted by the Students’ Union, other times various societies) like crafts, games, shopping, meals, movies — then I joined the Sober Socials society.
Joining Sober Socials
I met more people who wanted an alcohol-free space for a multitude of reasons, like religion, health, finance, or just preferring to socialise soberly. I shared my personal preference as a mix of my phobia, saving money, and not wanting to find out what being drunk can make a person do. The majority of my friendships were made due to Sober Socials, and I convinced all other friends to join as well.
It was easy to come up with ideas for socials — just do anything fun! The first in-person Sober Socials event was crazy golfing, most of the other 2020 events being various online games (remember Among Us?). It was a big confidence boost to realise just how easy it is to join and host events without needing alcohol.
Running the Society
In 2021, I became the president of the society. It was a role sort of thrust upon me; the society was brand new and limited by the pandemic, so there were only twenty members with no one willing to take on the role of leader.
I was actually more interested in becoming the events manager and didn’t think I was leadership material — but without a president, there wouldn’t be a Sober Socials society next year. I felt that it was essential the society continued to run and this safe space existed, so I nominated myself. Luckily, you don’t need to have experience or natural leadership to run a society as you get lots of support and learn on the job.
Now, I’m coming into my second year of presidency! I’m really glad that I got to join and then grow this wonderful community. I’ve helped to provide a space for people to take a break from university events that involve alcohol for people that never drink, people that sometimes drink, and people that drink all the time except at our socials.
Check out our Linktree to find out more about Sober Socials — you can find upcoming events, our Instagram, and membership information.
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