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You’re going to a celebration, so prepare yourself beforehand to stay sober at a party. You’re sober and would like to stay that way. Issues such as how you’re going to deal with the presence of alcohol, seeing others drink or the possibility that there may be drugs at the party are all things to consider. Here are six tips for how to stay sober at a party and stick with your sober mindset.

1. Take a Sober Friend with You

If you have a sober friend accompany you to the party, you won’t be alone in abstaining from drugs or alcohol. It’s also good to have your like-minded buddy to lean on if temptation should strike. If you can’t take someone with you, arrange for a call during the party to chat with a close friend or your sponsor.1

2. Go to a Meeting Before the Party

Attend a recovery meeting before you go to the party. Discuss in the meeting that you’ll be attending a party and explain your concerns. You’ll come away feeling fortified and more confident, ready to stay sober at a party.

3. Be Prepared for Questions

People at the party may pry and ask why you aren’t drinking alcohol. Have a prepared answer on hand. Being prepared makes it easier to avoid feeling pressured or embarrassed when you’re caught off guard.

A simple answer such as, “I don’t drink.” should suffice. Most people will realize your short answer means you don’t want to have a lengthy conversation about drinking. For those who insist on discussing it further, politely explain you’d rather not talk about it. If they become more insistent, simply remove yourself from the area with a polite “Excuse me.” Leave the room for a short time, or speak to someone else. You’re not obligated to answer anyone’s questions if you aren’t comfortable talking about it.

4. Serve Yourself to Stay Sober at a Party

At the party, serve yourself your beverages. It’s easy for someone else to unwittingly make a mistake and give you an alcoholic drink. Someone with more nefarious motives may purposely do it. Safeguard yourself, and stay sober at a party by getting your own drinks.

5. Be Prepared for Drink Offers

Keep a glass or red cup of water or seltzer in your hand, and put a slice of lemon or lime on the rim. This will discourage people from offering you a drink because they see one already in your hand.2 If you’re caught without a glass and someone offers you a drink, politely decline—no explanations needed.

6. Have an Exit Plan

Keep your car keys or taxi money in your pocket. You want to have an exit plan you can execute immediately if drugs appear unexpectedly, or if you suddenly feel overwhelmed by temptations to drink. Don’t try to test your resolve; it’s better to leave right away.

The road to recovery is filled with challenges, and going to a celebration is one in a long list of trials you’ll deal with. Your plan to stay sober at a party, as well as staying abstinent throughout your life, can be handled with grace under pressure when you’re prepared.


  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-high-functioning-alcoholic/200911/the-holidays-survival-guide-sober-alcoholics
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-high-functioning-alcoholic/201012/how-have-happy-sober-holidays
6 Ways to Stay Sober at a Party
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