02 Jun
She’s Sober, Can I Still Party?

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My friend   joined AA a few months ago and since then it’s been Ten Steps This and Anonymity That.  I support her decision to stop drinking, but she told me that she cannot come to my birthday party if there is going to be any alcohol served.  I wasn’t going to   have an extensive bar, but I was planning on serving wine ( along with other non-alcoholic options).  Do I really have to choose between my friend and booze?




Dear Cheers,

Ah. The newly sober.   And the friend of the newly sober.   How do you support your friend’s important step while still enjoying a well-deserved birthday glug?

You have several   options.

#1 Don’t serve alcohol,   but alert your non-abstaining friends in advance so that they can bring their own flasks.   Then excuse yourselves, one at a time, run to the bathroom and party hearty.   It’ll be like high school all over again.

#2.   Don’t serve alcohol, and surprise everyone with the wheat grass juice option.   It’ll be like college all over again. Especially if you attended Berkley.

#3.   Tell your friend that although you support her path to sobriety, you will serve wine at your birthday party.   Hopefully she can join you, but if her sobriety is at a stage where she feels unsafe being in an alcohol-friendly environment, then she will need to make a decision that is best for her.

The trick is that if she chooses option #3, you don’t get to pout about it, or tell your other friends that she’s missing your party on purpose.   Instead, you should make plans to get together with her at another time to celebrate your birthday.   And her milestone, as well.

Marinka, TMH

11 Responses to “She’s Sober, Can I Still Party?”


Comment by Cheryl.

Marinka, you handled that with flair. I bow to your wisdom and understanding.


Comment by The Good Cook.

The world is not alcohol free and alcoholics need to learn how to deal with their addiction in a world that drinks. Good answer. If she is still too new to her sobriety she will have to abstain from attending parties (or bars or other events) that have alcohol. It is the same with quitting smoking… for a while, newly nonsmokers cannot go places where people are smoking… It WILL get better for her and eventually she will just be a “non-drinker”…


Comment by writingmama04.

Super advice for sobering subject matter. Thanks for the insight.


Comment by Jerseygirl.

I actually attended a party like option #1 once – well after high school. It was awful and of course it didn’t work – the newly sober person flipped out. Your advice is much better.


Comment by dusty earth mother.

Excellent advice, Marinka. Obviously you’ve had a newly sober friend or two…


Comment by Erin I'm Gonna Kill Him.

So saying it’s a dry party and spiking the punch would be a faux paus?

Fine…Marinka…your high ground wins. Option 3.


Comment by Subourbon Wife.

As an alcoholic, I respect your answer. The only environment I can control is my home, and we don’t have alcohol here. Some days I can watch people party; others I get jealous and start with the “Why me, God? Why can’t I just be normal?” pity party. So I may choose to attend a party serving alcohol, or I might not, depending on my mood.

And to Cheers: there are 12 steps, not 10. If your friend is skipping a couple of the hard ones, I doubt that’s a good idea. Good luck, hon!

Desperate Dietwives Reply:

I think you’re great! Go on like this. I know it is difficult (and you know it better than me, unfortunately) but I admire you very much.

Excellent advice, Marinka! 🙂


Comment by kmdguerra.

I applaud your advice! This is a topic that really hits home for me; a close relative of mine is finally sober. He has told us NOT to feel bad about wanting to have alcohol at any family gatherings and in return, we try to be cognizant of his efforts and limit those kind of functions. If he doesn’t feel strong enough to resist, he’ll choose not to go. Kudos to Cheers for at least being mindful of her friend’s sobriety!


Comment by Nicole.

Agree, a fine answer. My husband actually quit AA and chose CA, because at AA they told him he should not have and friends that drink, much less go anywhere where alcohol is served. So if she is told that and is trusting the process, agree cheers should really not complain if her friend doesn’t come to the party.

He chose to remain friends with those who could handle alcohol and continued to go to bars with them. In the early days, though, it could be hard and support is a wonderful thing. I remember a wedding with many of those friends, and they said you can tell the recovering alcoholics, they’re drinking cranberry juice 🙂


Comment by Punch Drunk Love | The Mouthy Housewives.

[…] 2. He spends his son’s food money on booze because he’s a raging alcoholic. […]

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