For starters, a family friend—who has been a recovering alcoholic for many years, and we’ve all known this about him—recently mentioned that he doesn’t like to attend parties, particularly around the holidays, because many people drink. I didn’t even think of that, and I feel like a jerk for not doing so in the first place. Why had that never occurred to me?
This year, when someone mentioned that we would not have alcohol at the table and that it wouldn’t be a big deal because the only person who would have had it to begin with was the one trying to abstain from it in the first place, I thought, “Oh yeah.” That person didn’t remember that I like to have wine with both Thanksgiving and Christmas meals; in fact, I had wine with every dinner when I briefly lived in Spain and though I’m no longer in the habit—simply because I can’t afford that much wine!—I still try to do so on special occasions.
Of course, I didn’t say this; and I wouldn’t dream of feeling put out, either, since I want to support my loved one and it’s really not a big deal to me. But what if I’d have brought it, not thinking about it, had she not mentioned that to me? It reminds me that we all need to be more mindful of our company this holiday season—and every season, really—and prepare in advance for guests with needs such as these.
I’m not saying that you should skip serving alcohol to twenty people who want it because one doesn’t; but you could make an effort to ask that person how you could help them, what alternative drinks they might want, and to definitely seat them away from the alcohol. Seasoned former alcoholics who are used to dealing with this every day may still face a struggle, but new people fighting the illness might need even more support. If you have a person who just stopped drinking in your family, I would definitely simply abstain from drinking, too, for now, for both moral support as well as to make the holidays an easier time for him or her altogether. Here is also a great tip sheet to help recovering alcoholics survive the holidays.