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How to Stay Sober at Networking Events

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

Please tell me I am not the only one who has blacked out at a work function... In my defence there was an open bar and I really wanted the courage to tell the "hot guy" at the office how I felt. Did I mention the hot guy was married.

If you are thinking "YIKES, I would never do that!" then you are a normal human and I want to personally congratulate you for having your shit together. If you are thinking "I've been there" then you will likely get a lot out of this read. In this post I am going to talk about why we need to get booze out of business, how you can survive wet work functions and share where you can go to network that won't cost you your dignity.

Booze and business have gone hand and hand for as long as I have been alive, in fact much longer if I am to believe Mad Men and I think it is time to change that. Let's look honestly about the effects of alcohol in the work place. In Annie Graces Book - This Naked Mind she talks about the lies we tell ourselves about alcohol. Lies like: "I need alcohol to have fun", "Alcohol helps me relax", "I can't sleep without it". One by one she takes all the excuses we have about how alcohol is good for us and dispels every single one. In her book she talks about an experiment she did where she set out to see if drinking actually makes life more fun, spoiler alert, It did not.

There is literally NO GOOD that comes from alcohol it's self and the consequences way outweigh anything that could come close to a benefit. Not only are you risking embarrassment, your job, your integrity, your productivity but you could also be risking your safety. Employers all over Canada have been sued for allowing their employees to drive home after drinking, in-fact many workplaces now offer free hotel suites instead of risking a law suit. Instead of having dry functions employers are willing to dish out thousands of dollars for hotels. How does that make sense?

Chances are this one blog post is not going to stop every networking event and work function to ditch the booze, so let's talk about some ways to enjoy your night, even if you get asked "why aren't you drinking" a thousand times a night. If you are really struggling, newly sober or do not feel comfortable around drinkers then the most appropriate thing to do is to say no and enjoy a night at home without all the awkward conversation. If, however, you are attending a function here are 5 ways to get through the night, enjoy yourself and never have to pick up a drink to do it.

Have something to sip on: Just because you don't drink alcohol doesn't mean you do not consume liquids. There are so many great alternatives available today however most networking events do not cater to the sober so it may be hard to find a NA beverage besides coffee or water. If the list of options is underwhelming I always go for a soda water with lime. It is just a little fancy, not at all triggering and I never know what to do with my hands so holding a drink is an easy out.

Bring your own car: If you are like me then you probably used alcohol to hide your anxiety. Having my own car helps me feel safer and more in control. I always have an exit plan which helps me be more present and enjoy myself because I know I can leave at anytime.

Have fun with fashion: You are sober now which means your make-up wont be smeared at the end of the night, you are not going to lose or break and expensive shoe and you're going to drive yourself home so put on that outfit that sits in the back of your closet for a "special occasion", everyday is special when you're sober.

Phone a friend: You never have to do this alone. Take a friend with your or have your sober support on speed dial just incase you start feeling a bit shaky.

Stay present and have fun: Working on mindfulness techniques have made a huge difference in my ability to enjoy myself anywhere I go. Being present and engaged in what ever activity you are doing will help you get the most out of it. Try your best to stay out of your head and in the moment.

We have talked about why booze and biz should not mix and how to enjoy yourself even if you're the only sober one in the room, now let's talk about event's that were made with you in mind.

Sober Biz Collective networking events are made for sober people, by sober people! We have good food, great drinks and a ton of fun STONE COLD SOBER! You will never have to worry about what's in your drink or feel awkward being "the sober one". We have a feeling these nights are going to be such a blast that our booze-free biz movement will be the new normal.

Follow us on Eventbrite to check out our next event: CLICK HERE or copy this URL

If you found these helpful or have more to add to this list, leave a comment on this post. I would love to hear your feedback.

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