Attending a party while you’re in addiction recovery can be a challenge, let alone hosting your own party. The great thing about throwing a party is that you have more control over the presence of alcohol and other substances, but you may worry about whether your guests will still have a good time. These tips will help you overcome your fears and throw an unforgettable party without jeopardizing your recovery.
1. Make a Decision About Alcohol
If you’ve only recently gotten sober, it may be too difficult for you to be around other people drinking and engaging in the activities that you’ve recently given up – so have a sober party instead, free of alcohol and drugs. Make the decision that best supports your current stage in your recovery journey. If you’re not comfortable being around alcohol or drugs at this point in your recovery, make it clear to your guests that alcohol and other substances aren’t welcome.
2. Be Selective with Your Guest List
Avoid inviting friends and old acquaintances who aren’t supportive, such as those who may pressure you to drink or use drugs despite knowing that you’re trying to stay sober. Don’t feel guilty about not inviting old acquaintances who are still actively using. If it comes up in conversation, explain that you’ve limited the guest list to a select group in order to avoid risking your sobriety. Friends worth having will understand that your recovery is your top priority.
3. Do Invite Sober Friends
Attending a party as the only sober person can be intimidating, and the same is true for a party that you’re hosting. To avoid feeling all alone at your own party, invite a few sober friends. New friends you’ve met at meetings, your sponsor, and even old acquaintances who already lead a sober lifestyle can provide a pillar of support at a social gathering. If you are inviting friends who are also in recovery, be sensitive to their needs as well – for instance, make sure they’re comfortable with the presence of alcohol if you plan to allow it at your party.
4. Put the Focus on the Food
Instead of focusing on alcohol, shift the focus to food by preparing some creative and delicious eats for your get-together. Whether you’re planning to serve a complete meal or simply give your guests plenty of snack foods to enjoy, you can get really creative with party food. If you’re too stressed out over party planning to worry about preparing food, make it a potluck and ask your guests to bring their favorite party food or dish to share. Need ideas? These recipe sources are sure to help you plan a crowd-pleasing menu:
- 22 Crowd-Pleasing Dip Recipes
- Easiest Party Foods
- 45 Easy Potluck Recipes
- 20 Ultimate Last-Minute Party Snacks
5. Avoid Non-Alcoholic Beer (But Do Have Fun Drinks!)
If you’re hosting a sober party with no alcoholic beverages, avoid non-alcoholic beer and beverages that attempt to mimic the real thing, especially if you have friends who are also in recovery on your guest list. Instead, try some fun, seasonal drinks that are sure to get your guests in the spirit – without the spirits. Get some great alcohol-free drink recipes from these resources:
6. Make It Themed or Activity-Focused
If you’re worried about guests not having enough to talk about, a theme party is sure to eliminate that concern. Ask your guests to dress accordingly for a sure-fire conversation starter. Alternatively, you might think about having a party focused on a specific activity. Go bowling, for instance, or invite a group of friends to go on a hike. An activity-focused party is the surest way to keep your guests entertained, plus it can take the stress out of party planning because everyone knows what to expect. Get some fun activity and theme ideas from these resources:
- 21 Sober Birthday Celebration Ideas
- 50 Fun Things To Do Without Alcohol
- 89 Fun Things To Do This Weekend Without Alcohol
- Fun Ways to Celebrate Your 21st Birthday Without Alcohol
- 15 Fun Theme Party Ideas That Everyone Will Love
7. Don’t Forget the Icebreakers
If your guest list is made up of friends new and old, the odds are good that your guests don’t all know one another. Break the ice with some fun introductory activities to help everyone get to know each other and get the conversation started. Check out these resources for some fun icebreaker ideas:
- Party Games and Icebreaker Ideas
- Warming Up Your Next Party with Ice Breaker Party Games
- Party Games and Activities
Additional Sober Party Planning Resources
For more tips and ideas for planning an unforgettable sober party and keeping your recovery in check at events, visit the following resources:
Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen offers 10 helpful tips for sober entertaining, such as planning a get-together over lunch, when alcohol is less likely to be a temptation.
Sober Nation offers valuable advice for staying sober at parties, whether you’re a host or a guest.
Grub Street talks about how people around the world party while staying sober.
Party0.org is a great resource that helps students throw house parties free of drugs and alcohol.
LivingSober.org offers 10 useful tips to help you stay sober and in control while partying.
Throwing a party – and staying sober – when you’re in addiction recovery doesn’t have to be a drag. Follow these tips to plan a safe, enjoyable get-together with the people you care about without worrying about risking your sobriety.