I Spent a Bachelorette Weekend Completely Sober on a Party Island - Here’s What Happened
It takes strength to stand in your power, especially if the decision you’re choosing to own is an unpopular one.
“Oh I don’t drink really, I’m just here to have fun.”
The burly best-man at the country cover bar gave me a baffled look. At this point in the weekend, I was used to it.
It was my best friend’s bachelorette party in Put-In-Bay, Ohio - an island in Lake Erie that had become a breeding ground for drunken Midwesterners looking for a good time. I was two months sober, and still finding my newfound footing in the drinking world.
“So you’ve never had a drink, like ever?” the best man asked.
“I have, I just don’t drink anymore,” my reply was short and sweet. I lacked the patience to explain my drinking decisions to a complete stranger, and I knew he didn’t actually care.
The journey for the sober curious is full of trials, hilarities, and revelations. It takes strength to stand in your power, especially if the decision you’re choosing to own is an unpopular one. I knew what I was in for when I boarded my plane for the bachelorette party, but I was also unaware of how it would turn out. Would I decide to drink? Would the other girls think I was a square? Would I actually have any fun?
If you’re one for instant gratification, the answers are no, no, and yes. But aside from releasing limiting fears - I also gained new insights into myself, my spirit & my attachments.
If it’s at all helpful to you and your journey - here are some things that happened during my bachelorette weekend spent completely sober.
I realized that I don’t have to defend or explain myself to anyone
It’s awkward resisting drinks at first. You don’t want to appear rude, or you might worry that others will judge you. Some of them will. One man from the pool bar shoved his middle finger in my face and said “fuck your spirit” when I politely declined to help him finish off a shot of Crown Apple.
Firstly, those people who judge & mock you are not worth another second of your time. If your decisions trigger them, then that’s their work and not yours. It’s a difficult barrier, but you cannot let the fear of others’ opinions keep you from doing what’s best for yourself. After all, you’re doing this for yourself - not them.
Another tip, don’t feel the need to spill your beans to everyone who offers you a drink. You might be proud of your decision - and that’s great! - but you’ll make it easier for yourself if you don’t tell every passing stranger that you’re choosing not to drink and why. If someone offers to buy you a drink, a simple “no, thank you” will suffice.
I still danced harder than everybody else
Dancing is inherently spiritual to me, and it’s one of my favorite things to do. Many worry that without their liquid courage, they won’t be able to do things like dance, make conversation, or even date. Through my journey away from external substances, I’ve actually found more confidence and connection to my body.
So while all nine of us strolled up to the happening nightclub on the island, I was actually excited! It was packed. The music was loud and the air was humid with sweat. While the rest of the girls crowded around the bar I took the chance to squirm to the center of the dance floor.
I won’t lie and say it was the most ecstatic dance experience I’ve ever had. It’s fairly difficult to dance fully while sardined between gobs of limp, drunk people. But I closed my eyes and allowed myself to let go. I howled and jumped while my hair unraveled into my face. I smiled from ear to ear while strobe lights flashed and the dance floor bent under the weight of our jumping feet.
And knowing that absolutely 100% of that came from within myself is best part.
I strengthened my comfortability with myself
So much of why we choose to drink is unconscious. We feel awkward without something in our hands. We want a drink because everyone else has one. We want a drink because we’re in a new environment and we don’t feel totally safe. If you’re in the very beginning stages of your sober curiosity, noticing these triggers is a great place to start.
Without these attachments, I was able to strengthen my confidence and my willpower. When I walk into a bar I don’t feel the need to immediately run towards the drinks. There’s nothing I’m immediately searching for because I’m comfortable with myself just as I am.
It’s an unfortunate truth that many of us drink to fill a hole of some kind. It may be as quaint as boredom or as intense as self-loathing. But whatever the trigger, instead of working through it and strengthening ourselves, we choose to numb it. We choose to satiate ourselves into complacency. I don’t want to vilify drinking, but being aware of the reasons why you are drinking will help you notice if you’re using it to elevate or to numb.
I had a fantastic time
The common narrative that says you have to be drinking in order to have fun needs to die. In fact, I’d say that eventually the emphasis on fun begins to fade away, and the state of “fucked up” is in fact the goal. The singers and club DJs repetitively ask the crowd “who’s getting drunk tonight??”
This was my biggest fear coming into this weekend. I was worried that the other girls would think I was no fun, and that I would have no fun. But after my weekend spent completely sober on a party island - I didn’t feel like a total buzzkill.
Through the seven hour pool party and the late night clubbing - I felt more connected to my Self and my surroundings than ever. I was able to show up completely for my friends.
I spent a bachelorette weekend on a party island completely sober and this is what happened - I had a fantastic time. And to have fun while celebrating my best friend is all I could have asked for.