Don’t let the fear of being the only straight edge person there stop you from going out and having a good time.

Nothing is more isolating then hearing the awkward silence that follows opening a gift at a Yankee swap and seeing that it’s wine. There are the initial crickets, then a hurried apology, someone offers to trade with you and the whole time you try to act like you’re not uncomfortable, and that it’s not a problem and it’s okay.

The anxiety of going to a party and wondering if there would be labels on alcoholic beverages, and deciding to just bring my own to be safe is enough. I don’t also need to be accidentally gifted alcohol.

The holidays are stressful in general. Facing the holidays and knowing you will be the only sober person at every event you attend is intimidating.

When you don’t have other friends, who are doing the sober thing, you might be the only one looking out for you at a party. I usually end up trying to find the people who are acting as DD for the night and join them in a delightful evening of making fun of our drunk friends.

I used to be actually afraid of gift exchanges. This was mainly due to the fact that I wasn’t super loud and proud of being Edge. So, I used to just awkwardly explain that I didn’t drink.

I’m not surrounded by friends who share my sober lifestyle and that’s okay. There was a time where I was a little embarrassed about being edge, because it seemed like something that some of my other friends grew out of, and I didn’t.

When I became more open about being edge, I started to realize that my friends thought I was judging them. People around me felt the need to rationalize their drinking to me or come up with an excuse.

The other reaction to my clean lifestyle is one of pity. People tend to look at me sadly like I am being left out of some big part of life. Or, everyone just worries about offending me and feels the need to make sure I’m having a good time despite my “limitations”. 

These feelings of judgment, pity and worry were some of the reasons that I didn’t always outwardly claim being edge. I would just decline substances and try to avoid giving a reason. Eventually, I just avoided going to parties and celebrations in general. 

Then at some point, I realized that being sober isn’t a limitation. It’s an enhancement. I wake up after a party ready to start the day, not hungover. I will remember my fun evenings out with friends and I’ll dance on tables because it’s fun, and not because I’m drunk. I won’t be embarrassed about what I did the next day, because I will have decided to do it with a clear mind. There’s nothing wrong with going to a party sober. 

Don’t let the fear of being the only straight edge person there stop you from going out and having a good time. Bring a bottle of sparkling cider and cheers at midnight with everyone else on New Year’s Eve, eggnog is good without alcohol in it and no one remembers the $20 bottle of wine Sharon brought to the Yankee swap but they will remember the nerf gun you brought. 

So Happy Holidays, and Party sober! 

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