By Caitríona Ní Chonaill
Do you ever get sick of the constant weekend cycle – go out Friday and Saturday but spend Sunday nursing a hangover? Have nights out you can’t remember because you were too drunk? These may seem the most quintessential of student experiences, but if you’re looking for a different way to socialise, these groups have you covered!
Sober Sallys Galway is a brand new initiative, based in Galway, that puts a focus on “getting people out of the house without the pressures of constantly drinking”, in the words of its founder, Faye Ní Dhomhnaill. She says the constant pressure to drink while socialising had been weighing on her and her friendgroup. “I’d been wanting to set up a sober collective in Galway for a while and I’d just noticed amongst my friends we were all just sick and tired of constantly having to drink in order to get out of the house and meet new people.“ She decided to make a change to the social scene and found a sober collective for those who would like to explore socialising alcohol free. The first event was on May 22nd, see picture above, and consisted of a book & bake swap in Eyre Square. The initiative is looking into doing themed and LGBTQ+ friendly events in the future.
The group is taking ideas submissions for events in Google forms which you can find in their bios on Twitter and Instagram @sobersallys_galway, and they also have a WhatsApp group for sober Sallys to chat and get to know each other and make plans outside official sober Sallys events.
If you’re in the capital, you may be interested in a similar organisation @babes_without_beers whose founder Steph Meagher created the group as a result of similar social pressure. “I’ve always struggled with anxiety and I’ve often used binge drinking as a way of putting those feelings aside and I’ve used alcohol as a social crutch to deal with my social anxiety…I found it really lonely and isolating cutting back so significantly on alcohol. My friends were always busy or hungover at the weekends.” she says.
She recognised similar problems in social circles in Dublin in regard to drinking. “I wanted to create a safe space for people who are looking to quit or cut back on drinking. But I also wanted it to be a safe space for women, non-binary people and members of the LGBTQ+ community. Certain people might not be welcomed into certain social circles and there’s been a lot of hate in the media and real life of LGBTQ+ groups recently. I think it’s important that everyone has somewhere they can feel comfortable and valued.”
The collective’s events for the summer include the mediation morning with sauna and sea dip on the 24th of June, a charity shop crawl (instead of a pub crawl!) for Saturday the 15th of July and a book swap that will be announced in the next few weeks. All events are announced on Instagram but a new Facebook page has just been launched also. The initiative is hoping to branch out with some hikes and some pride events on the cards for Meath, Wicklow and Galway.
You don’t have to have any accumulated sobriety time to attend an event, even if you’re just looking for a break from drinking for one weekend, you’re welcome to join. Loads of people attend events alone and it’s a great way to make friends with like-minded people!