Party Like a Rockstar

I told you yesterday that my Date Night didn’t go exactly as planned on Saturday. Well the original plan was to go to my friend’s party in Brooklyn.

A girlfriend of mine from high school was hosting a Stranger Party. What’s a Stranger Party you ask? It’s a party where you bring someone that most likely does not not know anyone else who might also be attending and then you all have a good time meeting new people. When she told me about it over Mexican a few weeks ago I was super excited! Normally I shy away from parties because, more often than not, there is a signficant amount of heavy drinking at 20-somethings parties. But if I feel safe with the person who is throwing the party, I’m all for it.

Even though I didn’t go to the party on Saturday, I figured I would share my “attending parties sober” advice….

I didn’t go to any parties/bars in my first year of sobriety because I was too scared and rightfully so. I think it’s good to have this healthy fear. It wasn’t just the fear that I might end up tempted to drink myself, but also…how do I interact with drunk people? Also, I was afraid everyone would notice that I wasn’t drinking and therefore end up being labeled as the freak. As I stuck around in recovery, people helped me become more knowledgable about how to handle social situations that involve alcohol (even in professional settings!). I will never feel 100% comfortable at a party that involves alcohol no matter how long I’ve been sober, but it does eventually get bearable.

Some tips for going to parties where alcohol will be served:

  1. Call your sponsor or another friend from the rooms before you go and let them know where you’re going and what time you plan to leave.
  2. Bring someone who supports your recovery with you to the event. Either a fellow AA or someone close to you who won’t be drinking. Sticking together makes the whole thing a bit more bearable.
  3. BYOS (bring your own soda) just in case it’s a lame college party and the host doesn’t consider that not everyone wants to drink from a keg.
  4. Don’t ever let someone hold your cup for you. You never know what could happen to it while you aren’t watching.
  5. If you must travel by car to this party, never volunteer to be the designated driver (see Tip 6 for why not).
  6. Always have a way out. If you start to feel uncomfortable, don’t feel obligated to stay for any reason. Make sure you have a way to get home safely at all times.
  7. Call someone in your network on your way home from the party.

Being around alcohol doesn’t bother me a whole lot 3.5 years later but it used to. If someone has a drink at dinner I won’t freak out. If I have to be in the room with a bunch of raging drunk people… I will leave.

The number one reason I don’t like to be in alcohol-related situations today is that I value honest connection. When I can have an honest conversation with a stranger or new friend without involving alcohol or other substances, it makes me feel real. That is the way I want to build relationships today. Who wants to make a first impression on someone when they are wasted?? In my case, you probably wouldn’t have wanted to meet me a second time.

My suggestion to those who are new in recovery: avoid parties with alcohol altogether. If you want entertainment and good company, go to a meeting! I guarantee you that you will laugh at least once. And if you need your dose of being around hardcore partiers, go to a meeting. Most likely the people there have crazier stories to tell than than you do.

What do you do at parties to stay safe?

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