In university, the weekend usually means three nights of no sleep, late-night eats and no inhibitions. This routine is commonly caused by the consumption of alcohol, resulting in a drunk evening that ensures you won't feel cold even in negative degrees and won't want to go home, even if the night is completely shitty by anyone's sober standards.

tea, wine, coffee, beer
Alex Frank

Ever since my friends started taking shots of vodka in the basement bathroom of a #lit party full of 16-year-olds, I've never been the type of person who enjoyed being drunk. Feeling out of control made my head spin and my brain hurt, so when I found out that I couldn't drink because of health reasons, I wasn't too torn up about it. 

"How can you stand being at those dirty, disgusting night clubs sober," you may ask? And yes, they're even more vile when you aren't drunk. The answer is that while I don't like to drink, I do like to have fun with my friends, so I can handle a night at a gross club if my friends are by my side.  Don't get me wrong, I have other vices for sure—but I also have no problem having a good time completely alcohol-free.

In order to understand what it's like and how to master the art of being the token sober friend, here's a breakdown of the going-out experience when you don't drink.

Getting Ready

As common as it may be to drink a beer in the shower or sip some wine while doing your smokey eye, I enjoy a mug full of coffee to keep my body warm and my energy high. I go through the same steps as most, taking off the day's makeup to put on a fresh new coat and stressing over what to wear to achieve the perfect combination of cuteness and comfort.

The only slight difference in choosing what to wear is that rather than being filled with artificial body heat from inebriation, I know I'll feel the cold while waiting to get into the club. For that reason, I generally wear multiple pairs of socks, the warmest possible pants and finish the look off with a pair of gloves stashed in my jacket pocket.

The Pre

alcohol
Julia Dietrich

My pre-going experience is very different from those who drink. My dance skills are completely lacking, and my awkwardness definitely shows when I miss the opportunity to bond over drinks. Sometimes to avoid missing out, I'll hold a red solo cup, a half-empty beer, or a glass of champagne just for show.

The constant questions are the most interesting part of staying sober at a pre. They range from, "Why don't you drink?" to "Am I being super annoying right now?" and are more often than not followed by, "Wow, I really think it's sooooooo cool that you have that much self-control, I could legit never not drink."

I mean, I appreciate the love, and my self-control isn't bad per se, but it definitely isn't the reason I stay sober. 

milkshake, dairy product, sweet, dairy, cream, yogurt, milk
Aakanksha Joshi

The pre generally lasts until about 11:30 pm, at which point I'm ready to fall asleep and the acid reflux of not having eaten for a while kicks in. On nights like these, I bring my own water bottle to the party. Rather than being full of shots, it's filled with delicious, calcium-rich skim milk.

You may wonder why I would do that. Well, other than the obvious benefit of strong and healthy bones, the basic nature of milk actually neutralizes stomach acid, allowing for the party to go all night long (even if I won't be able to stay awake).

The Club

Once we arrive at the club, the real craziness begins. Waiting in line squished together like a can of sardines, nobody is sober. People shove to get ahead in the line or trip because of five shots combined with five-inch heels. Either way, I end up extremely claustrophobic and standing at 5'5", I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is my least favourite part of the partying experience and often ends with me deciding to give up and call it a night.

On the off chance that I end up inside the club, my friends and I usually dance, go pee multiple times or just walk around aimlessly looking for other people we might know. This portion of the night is probably the shortest and comes to a close when one of us proposes getting food.

The Late-Night Eats

You might think that because I don't indulge in alcoholic beverages, I don't feel the same craving for unhealthy noms in the late hours of the night. The truth is that I love late-night eats. The joy that comes from eating poutine while all dressed up or going home, putting on pajamas and enjoying an extra large pizza isn't lost on me.

Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother repeatedly says that "nothing good ever happens after 2 AM," but I disagree. Late-night eats are one of the many pleasures of life, drunk or sober. pizza, beer
Amanda Szpindel

While some nights aren't the most successful, going out with good people always makes the experience worth it.

You might think that I think I'm better than you because I'm sober, but that's the opposite of true. Not only do I have no problem with people drinking (responsibly), but sometimes I even wish that I could drink. That way, I wouldn't be the odd one out watching beer pong instead of playing or drinking juice instead of getting deliriously drunk on Homecoming or St. Patty's Day.

At times like that, I try to remember how much fun it is to dance like a maniac because everyone else is too drunk to judge or listen to all the hilarious things my friends say while intoxicated—things that they probably won't remember in the morning, but I will. 

Even though it sometimes sucks feeling left out, I'm the token sober friend, and that's never going to change. I'm still going to make the most of my weekends, go out wth my friends and enjoy the next day when everyone has to deal with a hangover but me.