I was worried about being sober at a wedding, especially in my hometown where I spent half of my life in a drunken haze. My former self saw weddings as a guaranteed path to intoxication and finding a hook up. Everyone else is going to be hammered, you can be, too! Make sure you get a bottle of Jack Daniels in case the reception is beer and wine only. Oooh…we can pre-game with the whiskey!
While most of my blog posts are written for a general audience, this one is specifically written with people in recovery in mind. Here’s a list of tips for attending a wedding sans booze:
1) Engage in Conversation
As mentioned before, I used to look at these types of occasions as an excuse to get drunk. Really drunk. Now, without binge drinking, I was able to have genuine conversations with people I care about. I got to hear about my friend’s killer real estate business, another’s upcoming wedding plans, and my partner in crime’s kindergarten students. The old me would have been too busy shoving shots in our faces, preventing any form of real communication. Now, sober, I got to reconnect with friends.
2) Don’t Mention Sobriety
When anyone asked what I was up to in New York, I made the terrible mistake of talking about being a sober blogger. For some reason, being comfortable with my own sobriety made certain people uncomfortable. This led to countless people justifying the drink in their hand and telling me about their personal relationship with alcohol.
“I really only drink once or twice a week.”
“This is only my third beer.”
“I shouldn’t even be drinking right now. I got a DWI last week.”
If this happens to you, just humor them. It’s much easier. A booze-filled event may not be the ideal time to talk about recovery.
3) Don’t Judge
With this being my first sober wedding, I found it quite easy to (silently) judge other people for drinking. She’ll regret those shots in the morning. Damn, he’s slurring his words so badly…did I used to do that? I can’t believe she’s grabbing another beer. I had to sit back and remind myself that the behavior of others has nothing to do with me. Just because my relationship with alcohol is out of control, that doesn’t mean that everyone’s is. Have perspective on the situation. Kudos to people that know how to let loose with a few drinks and not let it affect their lives. I wish I could do that!
4) Remember Your Roots
Not that long ago….that was me falling down on the dance floor…that was me taking shots of Fireball…that was me slurring my words…that was me losing my phone…that was me saying no to a safe ride home and yes to more booze. If anyone would have came up to me and asked me why I drank the way I did, I would have laughed and called them a narc when they walked away.
Seriously. Respect where people are in their lives and they’re more likely to respect where you are.
6) Indulge in the Fun Foods
Since I wasn’t slamming shots, I enjoyed a sugar high from an extra cupcake. Take this as your opportunity to taste some delicious, fancy, free snacks, that the bride and groom picked out especially for you, as a guest, to enjoy. It’s the little things in life, ya know?
7) Bond with the Pregnant Girls
That may sound a little silly, but I mean it. When you feel like you’re the only sober person at the wedding, find a pregnant woman: she’s sober too! I had some great conversations with a friend of mine who’s expecting her first baby. The topic of sobriety never came up and that’s the beauty of it. Like I said in #1, there really are many things to talk about and other activities to partake in at a special event without the booze.
Wobble baby Wobble. Do the Cupid Shuffle. Let people see that Tootsie Roll. You don’t need alcohol to dance, I promise!
9) Hug the Beautiful Bride
A wedding isn’t about you at all. A wedding isn’t a place to have deep self-realizations out loud, dissect your issues with your friends, or promote sober living. It’s about the couple getting married. Be present. Hug your friends. Drink sparkling water.