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Desert Companion

Mocktails: Dry ideas

Vegas is paradise for drinkers. Here’s how to teetotal here — and have fun doing it

In 2014, when I examined my relationship with alcohol and ultimately decided to stop drinking, there didn’t seem to be much vocabulary on the subject. Today, there’s an entire spectrum of labels for people who stop drinking or don’t drink: sober, alcoholic, sober-curious, gray-area drinker, alcohol-free, in recovery, dry, nondrinker, and so many more.

If you’re considering joining the thriving Sober Curious movement with a “Dry Month” (or even a dry weekend), here’s some advice I wish I’d had at the start of my journey.

Explore the “Why.” Take the time to reflect on the reasons behind your decision to spend 30 days sans alcohol. Want to improve mental clarity? Lose weight? Wake up earlier? The more concrete the reasons behind your choice, the more powerful your motivation.

Fill your free time. Do you have a project around the house to finish? A hike on your bucket list? Been meaning to get back to the gym or start cooking again? This is the perfect time to reconnect with the hobbies you enjoyed before drinking.

Seek community. Make sure you share your decision with someone supportive. You might choose to tell a partner or a friend, join an online support group, attend a traditional A.A. meeting, or even share it with a mental health professional. Telling others sets expectations, creates accountability, and builds support.

Support comes from

Explore the booming non-alcoholic drink revolution. From n/a craft brews to high-end mocktails, many restaurants and bars in Las Vegas now offer sober-friendly options that taste as sophisticated as traditional alcoholic drinks.

Consider your triggers. Even after a few years of sobriety, there are times when I allow myself to leave a party early. The first few weeks of not drinking can be exhilarating, but they can also bring up unexpected emotions. When going out, consider your exit plan for the event. If you’re at a gathering and someone asks why you’re not drinking, you don’t owe them the entire backstory if you’re not ready to discuss it yet.

Reward yourself. At the end of your Dry Month, do something for yourself (except, of course, celebrate with a night of binge drinking). Apps such as Sobriety Counter can track how much money you’ve saved — so why not splurge on a nice dinner and show tickets?

If you’re interested in learning more, the Foundation for Recovery, the Las Vegas Central Office for Alcoholics Anonymous, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism offer resources, and The Temper (thetemper.com) features articles on a variety of sobriety-related topics.

Kim Miller, the founder of Sober in Vegas (soberinvegas.com), is a writer, artist, parent, and outdoor enthusiast.

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