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How to Host a Sobriety Party

happy pink and orange pastel balloonsHave you or a loved one struggled with an alcohol or drug problem, or other addiction, like food or gambling?

Addiction can be isolating. A sobriety party can help you break out and celebrate the recovery and healing that’s happening.

It goes without saying that this type of party should never be offered as a surprise, nor should anyone be pressured into a sobriety party. Throw the party with the permission of the person being celebrated, and invite only those they’d be comfortable celebrating with.

Here are a few suggestions.

mocktail with lemon and mint

1. Get Creative With Mocktails

Sobriety doesn’t mean a life without creative, refreshing drinks. Mocktails have gotten very sophisticated of late. Some are so tasty and low-calorie you’ll never miss the booze-laden kind.

Serve them up in pretty cocktail glasses to keep the celebration spirit high.

2. Avoid the Dinner Hour

If anyone on the guest list struggles with a food addiction or eating disorder, you’ll want to avoid parties where people will be forced to make food choices or share food with everyone else.

Instead, pick an afternoon hour and center the party around an activity, like bowling, horseshoes, or board games.

3. Give Duration Presents

AA gives out coins to celebrate a certain number of years of sobriety. You don’t have to use coins; you can use anything. The gift should be small but meaningful; a bookmark, a pen set, or a small piece of jewelry.

pencil and card favorAvoid food-based gifts for all the same reasons you’d avoid throwing this party at the dinner hour.

4. Share Gratitude Notes

Place a little basket with each person’s name on it somewhere in the party, and let everyone know who will arrive in advance. Ask each guest to write a gratitude note for all the other guests to take home and read.

Ensure nobody is left out. We want to avoid the 4th-grade scenario where someone goes home without any Valentines in their box. Each guest should write for all the other guests.

5. Keep it Festive

friends sitting on stairs at celebration

Give your party a theme and decorate! You can choose almost any theme, such as Hawaiian, spring, the 80s, or whatever everyone involved likes.

Keeping the theme separate from the party’s point helps keep the mood light and fun.

Do avoid themes that could be problematic; casino themes evoke gambling addictions in this setting, and 1960s themes could be seen as a celebration of drug culture.

Keep it Light, Respectful, and Fun

Done right, a sobriety party can become an annual event that celebrates progress. Just keep in mind that sobriety is a journey. Consult with the people whose sobriety is to be celebrated on every choice; this is one where they need to have a big say in what happens.

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