Originally posted 12/11/2013, revised for 2015 holidays
Tips for making the holiday party season a sober success!
It’s no surprise – alcohol is a staple of the holiday season. This can prove to be a tough challenge for individuals in recovery but with a little planning and strategy, the holidays can be an enjoyable and successfully sober experience!
Following is a list of suggestions for non-drinkers when they’re in social situations involving alcohol, as well as tips for friends and family so everyone can enjoy the party:
For the Non-Drinker:
- BYO – bring your own nonalcoholic drinks to the function. (If it’s a big party, no one will notice.)
- Create your own cocktail – for instance, ask the bartender to mix cranberry juice, a splash of orange juice, club soda and add a piece of lemon or lime.
- Be assertive with drink “pushers,” people who don’t seem to understand your decision to not drink. You can simply say, “No thanks; I don’t drink.” One response that can stop drink pushers in their tracks is to ask, “Why is it so important to you that I drink?”
- If someone else gets you a drink, double check to make sure that it’s alcohol-free. If you accidentally drink something with alcohol, don’t panic – it wasn’t intentional.
- Avoid functions where the main activity is drinking, such as wine tastings and cocktail parties.
- Focus on the people, socializing and having a good time. Station yourself away from the bar or beverage table.
- Splurge on the food – have some treats that you might not ordinarily indulge in.
- Go outside, and take a walk with a friend.
For the party-thrower:
- Stuff a cooler with several choices of bottled juices and flavored iced tea drinks along with other carbonated beverages, such as a variety of flavored sparkling mineral waters.
- Have nonalcoholic beer, wine or ginger beer on hand for those who feel more comfortable with these beverages.
- If you make an alcohol-containing punch or slushy drink, leave some aside without the alcohol and label it as such for nondrinkers.
- Provide different kinds of sparkling fruit juice.
- Have a serve-yourself jug or large pitcher filled with water, ice, mint leaves, and orange and lemon slices.
Mocktails are mock cocktails – fancy drinks that don’t contain any alcohol. You can get some great ideas for mocktail recipes here.