Planning a Celebration in Recovery
From birthdays to anniversaries, graduations to weddings, life serves up so many reasons to celebrate. But many celebrations are known for serving up alcohol. If you’re a person in recovery, how are you supposed to throw a party that’s both comfortable for you and fun for the attendees? Keep reading to find out.
Answer the Big Question
Your first order of business is to answer the big question: Will there be alcohol at the event? As the host, this is a question that’s your call. It’s also a question only you can answer.
Some people, especially those early in recovery, may be more comfortable at alcohol-free events. Others may be OK with people drinking if they don’t feel pressured to drink themselves.
Either way, base the decision on your own comfort level. The goal of your event is to celebrate in the most delightful way, and it’s only going to be enjoyable if you’re comfortable at your own party. Remember, no rule says every party needs to have alcohol. You make your own rules for your event.
- If you decide not to serve alcohol, make it clear on the invitations that this is a non-drinking celebration.
- If you decide to include alcohol, put the bar area off the side or in another room, so it’s an available option rather than a focal point.
Be Selective with Your Guests
When it comes to the guest list, choose people who support your decision not to drink—not those who may make you feel pressured to join them. Feel free to invite a mix of old friends, family members, and new people you have met in recovery. Make sure you let anyone in recovery know if there will be drinking at the event, so they’re prepared if they decide to attend.
Plan Interactions and Ice Breakers
Even if the guests don’t know each other, there are many ways you can help break the ice and start conversations. Do a quick search for “party ice breakers,” and you’ll get a ton of ideas.
Making everyone feel welcome and included from the get-go is important. So is connecting people who may otherwise be a bit shy about starting a conversation with someone new—and quite frankly, that includes most of us!
Create a Fun Focus
Amping up the fun can further take the focus away from drinking. It can also serve as a natural conversation starter for your guests. Ideas here can include:
- Choosing a party theme
- Asking people to wear something related to the theme
- Planning a celebration around indoor activities, such as trivia challenges or a dancing contest
- Throwing a party at the beach, park, or other outdoor space
- Planning a party around an outdoor activity, such as a group hike
Have Non-Alcoholic Drink Options
Make sure you have a lineup of delicious non-alcoholic drink options that suit the occasion and theme. Sports drinks may be the way to go for a group hike. A non-alcoholic fruit spritzer or punch can add a punch (pun intended) to the indoor festivities.
One final step will make your celebration complete. And that’s to have fun. While you want to check in with guests to make sure people feel comfortable and have what they need, you also want to mix, mingle, and enjoy the festivities. It is your party, after all. Perhaps one of the first of many in recovery that you’ll absolutely rock.