CBC: Boozeless parties? Alberta women launch groups for sober fun

These non-drinkers are helping others make friends without the usual social lubricant

Groups in Calgary and Edmonton are throwing events to help sober people socialize. Katie Dengen, pictured, runs Sober Saturdayz in Edmonton. She says support for the events has been overwhelming. (Katie Dengen)

Kira Dunlop says she can’t count the number of times she’s been called boring.

She stopped drinking this past year but still likes to have fun. That concept, of socializing while sober, seems strange to many, she says, and outright offensive to others.

“You have a hard day at work, you go out for a beer. You know, your girlfriend dumped you, your truck broke down, you go out for a beer,” Dunlop told the Calgary Eyeopener on Thursday. “If I came, either it was a total buzz kill or, alternatively, like I just felt super, super uncomfortable and I had to leave.”

Dunlop, 23, founded organized a group in November called the Calgary Boring Little Girls Club, a tongue-in-cheek name. It’s dedicated to running events for young people who want to have fun without drinking, from skating to enjoying live music.

Kira Dunlop founded Calgary Boring Little Girls Club, a tongue-in-cheek reference to people who’ve called her boring for not drinking. (Kira Dunlop)

 

There is a similar group in Edmonton, Sober Saturdayz, that puts on bar events with nonalcoholic beverages.

The founders of both groups say they tried to curtail their own drinking, after seeing the negative impacts of it, but found their social lives disappeared. Dating, as well, became difficult for Sober Saturdayz founder Katie Degen, 26.

“People don’t know where to take you or how to talk to you. Suddenly it gets really awkward just because you’re sober,” she said. “Especially like at this age they’re like, ‘well, what do you do then?'”

‘Free-for-all’ drinking

In Canada, 78 per cent of people over the age of 15 drank sometimes in 2017, according to the Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey, a figure that’s remained steady in recent years.

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