Is there any way to get use out of it that doesn't include 'booze-fueled and partying'. I have no problem with booze, but I definitely dislike partying. Yes, I'm a wet blanket, but if the partying atmosphere is where the use comes from, I would seriously be uninterested.
I know that actually does limit the networking part too.
I much prefer to hang at the bars on the casino floor and talk to whoever comes around. They let you smoke, the music is better and less deafening, and you'll meet more interesting people.
There's a big element at DEFCON of people who read way too many Neal Stephenson novels, got a utilikilt and a mohawk, and are roleplaying as haxxors. Escape that. Find interesting talks. Find feds, because they're getting paid to do security work and are often damn good at it. Don't feel like you have to go to every talk.
Sure, you can check out the talks, wander around the venue (CTF, vendor booths, etc), talk to people. The "partying" isn't as rampant as some may have you believe. Sure there are parties, but it's not like you will be dragged into one. They also appear to be non-inclusive. I know I wasn't invited to any last year (and I'm no wet towel! ;). In fact, I was uninvited to one (you can't come; it's "private"). There is still plenty to get out of going and plenty of fun to be had.
Getting into parties is half the fun! I remember the times I social engineered my way into the Ninja party. Humans are so insecure...
p.s. even if you don't drink, the quickest way to make friends at defcon is to give someone free alcohol. the goons also appreciate free beverages.