My boyfriend and I are attempting a challenge this month: Sober January. We both decided it would be a nice way to start the year off right. Exercise our willpower. Save some money. Be a bit healthier. A great goal for the beginning of 2015.
I knew this would be slightly challenging. I enjoy a glass of wine after work a couple days a week. I meet friends for the occasional happy hour. I love discovering and experimenting with craft cocktails. I knew giving up drinking would be challenging in regards to those activities but I knew I could do it.
What I did not anticipate was being completely stumped on what to do in lieu of drinking. Greg and I sat around my apartment last weekend wondering, what shall we do tonight? There is plenty to keep us busy during the day and early evening: museums, shopping, parks, dinners out, etc. But at night most of these things close. I quickly realized our usual activity for a Friday or Saturday night was to go to a bar and indulge in a few cocktails. That’s something the two of us enjoy. Soaking in the atmosphere. People watching. Tasting some exotic drink concoction. But we both felt silly going to a bar only to drink water (plus I don’t think the establishment would care for us taking up space without ever spending a dime).
This had me pondering what we could do instead of spending time at a bar drinking. I came up with a handful of ideas.
- Bowling night. A lot of bowling alleys are open late and a night spent bowling with a significant other or a group of friends can be super fun! I am the worst bowler and would still use bumpers if I could, but I still have the most fun bowling. (Side note: anyone remember the DCOM Alley Cat Strike? Such a classic!)
- Mocktail bar. Going to a bar isn’t necessarily out of the question. Many bartenders don’t mind crafting mocktails instead of cocktails so you can still enjoy a night out with friends without imbibing. And I’ve heard of non-alcoholic bars popping up in cities across the US.
- Make your own s’mores. I’ve noticed a handful of restaurants have started offering make your own s’mores (Cosi being one of them!). Greg and I went to Max Brenner’s Chocolate Bar in Bethesda on Friday night and made our own. Not exactly healthy, but a fun experience nonetheless.
- Movie night. Admittedly this can be a bit boring. I have Netflix on all the time as background noise, so watching another movie at home doesn’t really feel special. But you can make it special by dressing up a night at home. Get a ton of extra pillows and blankets to make your couch or living room floor extra comfortable. Make a special movie night snack like doctored up popcorn or trail mix. Get creative. You could also opt for actually going to the theatre.
- Game night with friends. Gather up a group of friends and invite them to your apartment. Pull out your classic boardgames such as Life, Monopoly, Sorry, or Candyland. Also include new favorites such as Cards Against Humanity or Heads Up. Your friends can bring along some beer or wine for themselves and you can just enjoy the competition and company of friends.
Those are all the ideas I have for now! Any other suggestions would be extremely welcome. I will also let you know how our sober month goes and if we can actually make it til the end.