“If you don’t drink, why do you go to parties?

This is what drunk people look like to sober people. Still doesn’t remove from the fact that this was an awesome night, and the love I have for all the people in this photograph. Sober partying is all about perspective.

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“If you don’t drink, why do you go to parties? Isn’t it annoying having drunk people yelling in your face all night?” Whenever I am asked this I laugh, then I explain my appreciation for the occasional drunken yelling match. As a newly sober party attender, I have come to grasp and appreciate the inner workings of the drunken human condition.

The Pretender

The best way to not hate partying with drunk people is to pretend you’re drunk yourself. Immerse yourself in the party culture, and as Ron Burgundy once said, “When in Rome…” In what other circumstances do we greet each other with a shriek of happiness and a big bear hug? Divulge our appreciation for someone in a sentimental heart to heart? Recount tales of greatness with full gusto, and animated hand gestures? This is the stage of the evening that you connect with old friends to reminisce the good old days and make bold promises to hang out in the future.

I love this part of drinking, the passion and enthusiasm for the little things. Finally I have a group of like minded people willing to throw down on the dance floor and fill the airwaves with giggling gibberish. However, this is just a stage, because unlike genuine happiness found without alcohol, there is a always a crash, and suddenly the sober person’s role begins to change.

The Protector

Drunk people are vulnerable. All night they have been saying how they feel, and acting on impulses usually stifled in the office cubicle, and now the night is coming to an end. This is the part of the evening when the euphoria of the initial buzz wears off and the desperation to keep the feeling alive takes over. Fights break out, people hook up, and the final round of drinks are drunk. In this moment, a smart sober person knows to step to the side and let nature run it’s course.

Once the dust has settled and the arrests have been made, you can’t help but feel responsible for these now completely incapacitated, stumbling drunk, helpless people. And so, “The Protector” role develops into the, equally responsible, designated driver.

The Designated Driver

If you are really lucky you will manage to pull a few friends from the wreckage and lure them to the safety of your vehicle. This will take hours of drunken negotiations and perilous scavenger hunts for purses and missing people. Once everyone is in the car and the directions home have been surreptitiously drawn from the slobbering mouths of the semi-conscious, you are a fully legal, driving super hero. This is the grunt work, volunteer, shit shovelling part of the evening, but just like the girl at the Wendy’s pickup window, you have to suck it up and do your job. Throw on some pulsing house music and play the role of the cool limousine driver. You will be showered in compliments, thanks, and  maybe a tip if you play your cards right.

You should expect to be out later than the people whom you took home. You should expect to feel awful the next morning, but you should know that with great power, comes great responsibility. You have the power to enjoy yourself without getting drunk, and therefore it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of those who cannot.

The Observer

At the end of the night you are left to your thoughts. No drugs or fading effects of booze to lull you into a induced, dreamless sleep of respite. This is what I love about going out sober, and probably the same thing that most hate. I get to have these memories and learn from them, take in and appreciate those drunk minds speaking their sober hearts. It’s hard to imagine the positive outcome amongst the mayhem of the last few hours, but as you drive home in silence, or lay in bed before sleep, you run through the events of evening and, for once, you remember them.

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