"Recovery Etiquette" Tips for Thoughtful Hosts

The Caron Foundation

Don't worry about entertaining an alcoholic who's in recovery. Here are some helpful hints.

There's no reason to be self-conscious about entertainment plans that include a guest who is an alcoholic in recovery. The Caron Foundation offers these "recovery etiquette" tips for thoughtful hosts.

  • Feel free to serve alcohol beverages at your gathering. You need not plan your party around a guest you know is in recovery. "Alcoholism comes in a person, not in a bottle," says Todd Whitmer, senior executive officer of the Caron Foundation. "The recovering alcoholic won't suddenly relapse if alcohol is available."
  • Don't make a big deal of it if someone at your party is in recovery. There are plenty of reasons people say no to alcohol beverages, including preference, dieting, interactions with medications, and serving as designated driver, as well as being in recovery from alcoholism. There is no reason to differentiate one guest's reason for abstaining from another's. If someone declines a drink, don't ask why.
  • Include non-alcoholic beverages in your offerings. While some non-drinkers will drink non-alcoholic beer and wine, most recovering alcoholics prefer beverages that don't look or taste like the real thing. Stock your bar with sparkling water and cider, soft drinks, and juices.
  • If you're serving wine at the table, offer a choice of wine or an alternative such as mineral water as you pour.
  • Foods cooked with wine, brandy, and other spirits long enough to destroy the alcohol content are technically OK. Most, but not all recovering alcoholics feel comfortable eating them, so let guests know what's cooled with alcohol.
  • Foods with uncooked alcohol are another matter. If you include them on your buffet table, label them so the recovering alcoholic can steer clear.
  • The same goes for punch; let guests know if it contains alcohol.

Bon appetit!

 

The Caron Foundation is an addiction treatment center located in Wernersville, Pennsylvania.

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