For many of us, the evening hours can be a time when we’re tempted to reach for a drink. But just because you don’t have one doesn’t have to mean that you waste a valuable evening doing nothing. Here are 10 fun and productive activities you can do instead of drinking in the evening. Whatever activities you choose will help break up the monotony and give you an activity to look forward to instead of reaching for alcohol.
1. Try your hand at trivia night
Many local establishments host trivia nights that are free to enter and offer some sort of prize. Don’t worry if you and your group of friends aren’t brainiacs; trivia is almost more fun the less you know. Come up with a funny name (the emcee will read it every time you get an answer correctly) and let the wrong answers roll. It’s bound to be a hilarious time with memorable moments.
2. See a live performance
Immersing yourself in live entertainment makes it easy to forget that you’re not drinking. Steer clear of the gigs in bars. Instead, opt for larger venues that require more effort to get alcohol. These hurdles will make you think twice about going out of your way to grab a drink. Plus, the performance will probably keep you glued to your seat anyways.
3. Make your own mocktail recipes
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Craft or create your own fancy mocktail recipes–you’ll soon learn that the absence of alcohol doesn’t mean you can’t sip on delicious, colorful drinks. Make it a party by inviting others or taking your talents on the road and having your bartender whip it up for you while you’re out on the town.
4. Find restaurants with happy hour food menus
Happy hour isn’t limited to drinks, there are plenty of fantastic happy hour menus that are centered around food. Many restaurants have a late-night happy hour menu meant to cater to the late-night partiers, meaning you can get fantastic quality food for a fraction of the usual price. Who knows, you might even get a new favorite restaurant out of it!
5. Find a karaoke bar
Want to embarrass your friends without alcohol being involved? Look no further than karaoke. Belting out tunes (badly) promises tons of laughs and funny memories and since no one expects anyone to be any good, there’s no pressure that might make you feel the need to reach for liquid courage.
6. Take friends to an escape room
Escape rooms are still all the rage and it’s hard to go to any major city without finding at least a few. The puzzles will challenge your mind to keep you occupied and entertained for at least one guaranteed hour.
7. Go bowling
Similar to karaoke, the worse you and your friends are at it, the funnier it’s likely to be. Nowadays, many bowling lanes have a late-night event that emulates that of being in a nightclub. They play popular music, stream music videos, and turn on the blacklights to give this family-friendly activity some edginess, perfect for a group of friends looking for a fun night out.
8. Host a game night
You don’t have to leave your home to have a fun evening. Bring the fun, literally, by breaking out your favorite board games or video games for you and others to play. Other benefits of hanging out at home include free snacks, free parking, and the lack of obnoxiously loud music.
9. Have a dinner party
Are you a master of hosting (or what to up your skills)? Then you might want to try throwing a dinner party and inviting friends over. Planning the menu, cooking the food, and mingling will keep you way too busy to miss any alcohol you’re not drinking. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of eating delicious food way cheaper than if you and others decided to go out to a restaurant.
10. Go to the movies
An oldie but goodie, go to the movies with friends or by yourself if you’re looking for engrossing nighttime entertainment. The average film is about an hour and a half long. If you’re the type for watching the previews, you can easily squeeze another 15 or so minutes of entertainment out of the experience. Fill up with your favorite movie snacks, and you won’t have room for alcohol even if you wanted to.
One of the added benefits of going the non-alcoholic route is the clarity that comes with it. When you take a break from drinking, your mornings won’t have that dreaded post-party hangover fog. Plus, without alcohol to cloud your judgment, it can be easier to see issues or relationships in your life for what they are. Uninterrupted days and nights will give you more time to reflect and observe – ultimately leaving you feeling aware, alert, and connected to yourself. In an age where coping mechanisms can be dangerous and unhealthy, nourishing your thoughts and feelings can bring about genuine wellness that lasts much longer than a single night out! Alcohol tends to be involved in many of our leisurely pastimes, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t great times to be had without it! If you want to quit drinking alcohol or find that you are having trouble trying to stop, get free help by finding an Alcoholics Anonymous group near you.