To anyone who has partied, sober parties sound like a drag. Dry parties are usually frowned upon and considered boring. And in many cases, they actually are. But when the focus is on creating a fun party – not just a regular party without booze – then the alcohol is quickly forgotten, and the real party can start.
But if you’ve never planned a sober event before, then the idea alone can be intimidating. There’s usually a lot that goes into a party or event, but for anyone who has struggled with alcohol enough to have to go sober permanently, party planning beings and mainly focuses on keeping the booze going. However, it’s actually not that tough to throw a good party without a drop of alcohol, provided you already know you can have a good time while sober.
We’re going to go over a few quick and easy pointers for planning a sober event, so you don’t feel too lost, but it’s best if you don’t start trying to plan sober events while you’re still in the early stages of recovery. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a good time but consider laying off really rowdy gatherings in general until you’re through the early stages and well into your recovery journey. At some point in a person’s addiction, parties often just turn into excuses to get drunk or high anyway – when that’s no longer an option, fun has to be redefined as something the new you can enjoy.
If It’s Something More Serious
Sober events that don’t necessarily revolve around making a memorable evening out of it don’t really have to be any different, other than not offering booze. If your work environment somehow encourages alcohol at company gatherings or if you’re in charge of hosting a family get together and would not like to have any alcohol at home, then it’s important to warn everyone beforehand that there won’t be any alcoholic drinks, and that you would not like any at the event. If necessary, you can even ask people who bring their own booze anyway to please leave it in their car.
Drawing boundaries is very important, especially if you’re in your first year of sobriety. You want to be firm about what you’re allowing around you, and if you’ve decided you want to plan and host an event with no drinking, then you have to see it through completely.
It’s a slightly different story if you’re hosting a fully-fledged party. If your goal is to entertain your guests – many of whom might not have completely pledged to sobriety like you have – then it’s important that you not only show them a good time, but much more importantly, help them stave off boredom.
The number one reason people drink at parties is, so they don’t get bored – or, in other words, to make things happen. When you’re drunk, you’re pretty likely to make your own fun. Sometimes, that might mean embarrassing yourself or someone else – but until then, the process can be entertaining. It also helps that on top of being a substance that lowers inhibitions, alcohol also causes people to generally feel a little better about themselves and be a little happier at times.
Your best shot at helping your guests stave off boredom ultimately depends on your guests. If you and your friends are the type to play video games, it’s a pretty easy way to keep some folks entertained. All you need is a console, a competitive game, and a couple controllers. Encouraging others to bring their consoles or starting a LAN party is another option. Fighting games are a solid option, as are party games like the Mario Party series, or team play games like FIFA and Rocket League.
For the less gaming-inclined, there’s the option of hosting a movie marathon – preferably horror or comedy – or even going old school with some good old board games. Of course, sometimes you’re just not going to please everyone with your choice of entertainment, so have something for the taste buds as well.
Lots and Lots of Good Food
One thing you might notice is that you get to taste food a little better when you’re not drunk. Sure, food might generally taste better when you are drunk, but you get to appreciate flavors a little more when you’re sober. That gives you the opportunity to come up with a large variety of different party dishes to make a distribute, with the intent of giving everyone something they might enjoy.
Variety is key, so make sure to make something sweet, something spicy, something a little salty, some crunchy things, some chewy things, and some creamy things. Refrain from overly sweet or filling foods and stick to stuff that’s easy to eat – nachos, sliders, tortilla with salsa and guac for your vegan friends, fries and sauces, dips, churros, mini pancakes, cheese sandwiches, and any other number of delicious food items.
Different Drink Options
With all that food comes the need to wash it down, and regular mineral water gets old pretty fast. Spice things up with something more interesting, like strange juice blends, Indian non-alcoholic yogurt drinks, novelty sodas (not the unpalatable stuff, though), or other strange but pleasing drinks that your guests probably haven’t tried before.
And sure, throw in something not everyone might like – maybe you’ll awaken someone’s hidden tastes. Again, go for variety, to make sure everyone gets something they like.
We’ve taken care of the hands, eyes, and tongue, but we need something for the ears. Music is ultimately what really gets a party going and sets the tone for the night. Unless you’re planning a dance-off, you probably don’t want anything too hype, and unless you know that your music tastes will match up nicely across the board, you also don’t want to make any bizarre choices that are just too out there. Sure, you might be a fan of Pearl Jam or you might really like free jazz, but maybe go for the safer, but still obscure option. Genres that easily slip into the background but makes for a great chill atmosphere include chillhop, ambeat, jazz hop, or trip hop.
If you’re looking to spice things up a bit, then use an online radio. There are lots of configurable radios that let you pick out a kind of sound and customize your choices as you listen. Put the radio to a vote with your friends, and tune into the kind of music you can all enjoy.
Know Your Crowd
There’s probably always going to be one person who just doesn’t enjoy a good get-together without a bit of booze. It’s important to keep in mind that that person won’t be satisfied, and that’s okay. You don’t have to cater to everyone’s wishes, especially if those wishes would go against your boundaries.
What’s most important is that you have some fun – and that you learn it’s possible to throw a good party without drinking so much that you forget half of what actually happened.