For most people, partying sounds like sweet relief from the stress of daily life. But if you’re in addiction recovery, parties can feel like trouble. Even if you abstain from drugs and alcohol, just being around people using them can trigger a relapse, especially in the early stages of recovery. You might find yourself completely avoiding parties altogether, but you don’t have to! Why not throw your own sober party? By taking the lead, you have better control over all things party, including who’s there, what food and drinks are served, and the kind of fun everyone will have. Plus, if you keep your guests in mind, your sober parties might become known as the best ones around! Follow these tips for hosting a super fun sober party.
1. Schedule an Early Evening
Thirty-one percent of fatal drunk-driving accidents occur on the weekend, and most drunk drivers are on the road between midnight and three in the morning. This speaks to the fact that partying and alcohol abuse is more common late at night. One of the most crucial aspects of recovery involves developing different lifestyle habits and distancing yourself from the habits that got you in trouble in the past. You can start to break free by throwing your party a little earlier in the day or evening. The daytime actually offers more entertaining excuses to get together!
- Throw a pool party, complete with tropical-themed, non-alcoholic cocktails
- Barbecue in the backyard with a lawn-game tournament.
- Host a brunch for your best friends with plenty of French toast and eggs benedict.
2. Get Creative with Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Alcohol doesn’t have to be the cornerstone of every party; in fact, it often causes more heartache than fun. Get creative with virgin versions of party staples, like a watermelon margarita or mango mule. Non-alcoholic beers and hot apple cider are delicious as well. If you think mocktails might trigger addictive behavior for you, opt for the classics like soda, iced tea, coffee, and juice!
3. Don’t Invite the Haters
It’s well known that positive relationships and social networks support a life in recovery. There are also probably friendships you left behind when you started your new life—people you used to party with, who were bad influences. When drawing up your guest list, avoid inviting those people. Focus on those who completely support your sobriety or friends who are in recovery themselves. They won’t pressure you to ‘have fun’ the way they see it, and other sober people will feel comfortable knowing your party is a safe place where they can let loose too!
4. Fill Up on Food
No get-together is complete without food. Plus, it’s a great focal point for a party without drinks. Consider a four-course dinner party, made by you and a few friends or catered. You and your guests will be drooling in anticipation of the next plate. If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of planning platters of food, turn your party into a potluck. The more creative the food and presentation, the better!
5. Choose a Theme
Planning food is even easier when you think of a theme. Plus, a unique party theme gives your guests something to talk about or an activity for them to engage in. A few ideas:
- Taco night, complete with a buffet of toppings and churros for dessert
- An ugly sweater party, with prizes to the tackiest sweaters
- A ‘50s throwback party where everyone comes dressed up
A theme is a sure-fire way to entertain, so you don’t have to worry whether people are having fun without alcohol.
6. Plan Fun, Sober Activities
There was a time when you only attended a party because it was an opportunity to drink or use drugs. Now that you’re in recovery, you realize there are plenty of other ways to enjoy yourself at a party.
Try these sober party activities:
- Watch a movie or hold a viewing party for a popular television show.
- Host a BBQ, and play outdoors games like corn hole and bocce ball.
- Gather friends for game night to play Pictionary, Monopoly, or a group-friendly card game.
- Set up a stage area, and sing karaoke.
- Have a dance party under a disco ball.
7. Take the Party Outside
If house parties remind you of your drinking days, move your party elsewhere! You don’t have to literally go outdoors, but it does help to get out of the house. Go bowling, take a cooking class with a big group of friends, check out the nearest swim club and enjoy a pool party, or take a hike in a national park. You’ll enjoy the change of scenery and won’t think twice about alcohol or drugs.
Find Your Strength
Taking on a party can be daunting to anyone recovering from alcohol or drug abuse, but you don’t have to avoid social gatherings forever. Find your strength by attending group therapy and working with the team of professionals as part of a treatment program at Washburn House. We’ll help you establish the support system you need to tackle stressful and fun situations alike!