Being able to have parties with friends again is such a wonderful thing we have the privilege to start doing. 25% of Canadians have found they’ve been drinking* quite a bit more than usual, which means a lot of folks have been ditching the sauce now that things are getting back to normal. That means a lot of our friends, who used to be drinkers, might not want to take part at your next get together. So that’s why we wanted to share some of our tips for welcoming your sober friends to the party.
Don’t Stop Inviting Them
I think the worst thing to happen when you give up drinking is your friends that do drink may hesitate to invite you to functions where alcohol may be present. Send them an invite, let them know it will be alcohol friendly but that you’ll have alternatives and let them make their minds up. If they feel it is too much at their point in recovery then that’s okay, just don’t stop the invites. Even if we can’t make it we love knowing that you are thinking of us and trying your best to keep the communication lines open.
Making a point of asking them what they’d like to drink is always an amazing gesture of kindness. Of course don’t assume that non alcoholic booze-esque beverages are a good option, make sure to have a range if you are guessing as many in recovery can still find certain drinks triggering.
Don’t Be Nosey
It can be hard to not ask why when it comes to someone’s journey with sobriety, but you need to remember. It isn’t your business why. If they say they are currently not drinking it isn’t your place to probe and ask why or give unsolicited advice. As a friend you are supposed to be supportive of their choice and be there to listen if they so choose to share that information with you. This can be an especially hard thing when it comes to close family. I have often found it near impossible to have family respect my choice to not drink even if just for an evening. It can definitely cause a few pot holes along your road to recovery.
It is also important to remember that not all people who are choosing not to drink are on the road to recovery from addiction. So using the term “sobriety” or “sober” shouldn’t be used lightly in conversation as it can make those in a lifelong battle with addiction feel dismissed.
Think About Activities
Many of us who drink don’t often realize how alcohol centered their events can be. Most adult events with alcohol involve a lot of standing, talking and drinking with some food floating around from time to time. This can be a lot for someone choosing not to drink or on the road to recovery. Think about setting up some things for everyone to do if they want to. Don’t make them mandatory but have the option there. This is a great opportunity to bring out some lawn games, board games, an outdoor movie or even a little karaoke where everyone can have a good time drinks or not.
Remember Your Manners
Even though you have done everything you can to make your party as welcoming to your non drinking friends you may have overlooked one thing. You and your guests are still drinking and how are they behaving? If you know some of your drinking friends can have a little too much fun it might be something to think about. Your non drinking friends want to be invited still but probably don’t want to unexpectedly be at a rager all of a sudden. You know your friends and family best, plan as best you can.
More than 14 million Americans* have an alcohol use disorder, according to the National Institute of Health. Which means more than a few of your close acquaintances could be looking to cut alcohol out of their lives for good or on the road to life long recovery and it would be amazing to help make that easier. Let them know you support them and never stop caring!
*Alcohol facts and statistics. (2020).