Parties that Don’t Need Booze
Sober doesn’t have to equal boredom on Saturday night. Weekends, especially in the evenings, can be challenging for people in recovery—especially those who are newly sober. These are times when you would have gone out to a bar or a club and socialized, danced, and drank of course.
Some people are okay with going to bars and clubs without drinking, but this can be triggering for many alcoholics. Plus, let’s face it, it isn’t that much fun to be around a bunch of drunk people when you’re sober. The magic of a lot of night life seems to be gone once you kick the booze.
This blog is for people who are sober, but still crave social interaction and fun times after working all week. This is the first installation of a short series about sober activities: sober parties. These are seven weekend social gatherings to have with a group of friends at your abode or a friend’s place.
1. Throw a Dinner Party
This may seem old fashioned, but it’s really not. Everyone eats dinner, and proper social dining can be a special experience in its own right. Plan an impressive meal with a few courses, invite a solid group of friends, set a big table, and make it nice. Light candles and play music in the background. Afterwards, there can be desert, teas, and coffee. A good dinner party can go on into the late hours of the night, fueled with stimulating conversation.
If you stick with the same friend group, this can easily be a weekly event. Each individual can take a turns hosting, in a rotation, and everyone can contribute a bit of cash each week towards the supplies.
2. Craft Parties
Crafting can be a really great way to come together as a group and hang out. It doesn’t matter if you are detail oriented and creative or if you are terrible at making things, it’s fun. Get everyone together, put out snacks, and craft away. Every time you meet, there could be a different craft or you could continue working on longterm projects across several gatherings.
Fun ideas for crafts are endless with a ton of ideas to find online, but here are a few ideas. You can put together physical photo albums that will become family heirlooms one day. Knitting is a good one that can span over multiple gatherings. There are easy DIY projects, like making fridge magnets, bath bombs, or candles!
3. Art Parties
For the more creative types, an art party is great. Have some supplies out for people to work with, or people can bring their own. There could be big collaborative projects or people can work on individual things. This is totally a choose your own adventure. Put on a record and let the creative juices flow.
Maybe you go all out and get some easels to set up. People can paint, draw with charcoals or pastels. One of your friends could pose for some life drawing. You might even make a DIY dark room in a bathroom and develop photography.
4. Soiree Book Club
If you are a literature connoisseur or you just like reading sometimes, this can be a great way to spend time with friends. Everyone can take turns picking books to read. Establish page requirements to get through by each soiree. Set out finger foods, make coffee or lemonade, and discuss the latest developments in the book!
Talk about plot predictions, metaphors and symbolism in the story, and your favorite moments so far! If you want, whoever is hosting that night can prepare notes or discussion questions for the group. When you finish a book, make an event of it: potluck themed after the book or watch the movie adaptation if it exists.
5. Game Parties
People forget how much fun a simple game night can be! There are intellectual games, word games, silly games, X-rated games, card games, and the list goes on. Some of my personal favorites are: Charades, Cranium, and Hot Seat. One creative idea is to host a Silly Bingo Night at your house. I know what you are thinking—gambling with addicts?!—but this version doesn’t include money or gambling. Go to thrift stores and find the most ridiculous items to give away as winning prizes! Part of the fun is the big reveal of whatever hilarious prizes you hunted down this time.
Most importantly, get into your games, whichever ones you choose—heckling is much advised.
6. Movie Nights
Everyone loves a good movie, so make a regular night of it. Make popcorn and offer sodas and assorted candies. If you really want to go all out, you can get a projector and set up a white sheet to make a big screen. You could host a “ride-in” movie—all your friends ride their bikes to your place and you set up an outdoor screening in the backyard.
There are a lot of things you can do to make your movie parties more fun. Maybe you pick movies that have specific themes and everyone dresses up accordingly: sock hop attire for Greece, mafia outfits for The Godfather, dancer digs for Flashdance. You could limit it to a genre of movie: horror films, musicals, slap stick comedies, super bizarre art flicks, whatever you want.
7. Bonfire Times
Okay maybe not a bonfire, but you can at least build a fire in a pit out back—unless you have the means for a huge bonfire (in which case, go crazy). Seriously, though, gathering around a fire is something humans have done since early times. If it’s a chilly enough night, building a good fire is always a great way to be together. You can have hot spiced cider, hot chocolate, or coffee. Make s’mores or roast hot dogs over the flames.
Plus, there are a lot of great campfire games to play. Storytelling is always great, or get someone on the guitar while everyone sings along to “Rock Me Momma.” Vintage fire times.
Sobriety is What You Make it
Like most things in life, being sober or in recovery is what you make of it. It doesn’t have to be a quiet life of reflection and purity. A lot of people are wary of letting liquor go because they think it’ll be boring. Yes, the usual night life that comes to mind when you think of weekend fun times often involves alcohol, but there are tons of social things to do that don’t revolve around drinking.
Click here to read the second installation; Part Two: Going Out Without “Going Back Out.”