This list is intended to help people who are not in recovery, the supportive friends and family in our lives, be mindful of sober guests during the holiday season and beyond. It is by no means an exhaustive list, merely a starting point for discussion.
1.) Be understanding if they decline to attend but always invite them
2.) Be willing to adjust traditions as necessary
3.) Allow them to bring an extra guest ( which then creates the option for them to bring a support person )
4.) Be patient. Someone that is newly sober is learning how to socialize differently. Don’t treat them differently the only thing that has changed is you are not offering them a drink/substance. You can still enjoy their company and ask how they are progressing in their treatment.
5.) Don’t draw attention to your efforts or make it about you by expecting any acknowledgement
6.) Stock up on their preferred beverage so theres no awkwardness. This shows consideration for their interests and desires. It also shows that you care about their situation and want them to feel as comfortable as possible in enjoying themselves. Simply having what they enjoy can help them to see that the ‘new normal’ of socialization without substance is still plenty of fun.
7.) Include non-drinking activities at your event (some fun ideas; pre-dinner cookie decorating, gingerbread houses or sledding)
8.) Set out self-serve mocktail ingredients (Keep this separate from the alcohol to remove any temptations or triggers)
9.) Offer a quiet “get away” space so they can take a break from the crowd if needed
10.) Don’t be offended or worried if they leave early. Just thank them for coming and spending time with you! If this person is coming over to your home, it means they trust you and trust their safety to you. Respect it!