EP 206: Reader Question – I’m entertaining and alcohol free. Do I need to provide booze for guests?

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What’s the best way to be a good host if we are living alcohol free? Is it necessary to still provide alcoholic beverages to our guests? Or maybe it’s best to just exempt ourselves from hosting altogether? Annie answers this question with your best interest in mind! Find out what she says regarding this topic and learn some tips that have helped her learn to be the hostess with the mostess.

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Should You Serve Alcohol?

First and foremost, and before anything else you need to do what you feel comfortable with. If serving alcohol is going to make you uncomfortable or make it difficult for you in any way, then don’t serve alcohol. Think about you first. I mean, you’re going through a lot of transitions and changes and you’re making some really empowering decisions, and sometimes those decisions are just like right out of the gate, super strong. You don’t have to worry about it. You’re not bothered by the alcohol being around. But sometimes those decisions can be, it might take some more effort, you know? And so it really first and foremost has to be up to you and what you’re most comfortable with.

No Judgement

I think the way that I’ve made the most impact on people around me is when they don’t feel judged by me. I’ll tell you what I did. I had always served for who knows what reason, but I’d always served alcohol at my children’s birthday parties and so did all our friends. It was just totally normal to do. So the first time we had a big huge birthday party during the summer and I made two batches of sangria. One was alcoholic and one was alcohol-free. I was drinking the alcohol-free sangria and I made a big note like alcohol-free, and then there was an alcohol sangria, but I was like super, “Okay, everybody can do what they want and they can make their own choice.”

It was so surprising to me how many people chose the alcohol-free sangria. Like, it was amazing. Sometimes when you’re creative and inventive about things, people are like, “Oh, that sounds good. And by the way, this is a children’s birthday party and why are we drinking anyway?” That was really cool to me and really empowering. Not only did I give everybody the choice, but I made a really clear alcohol-free choice, which made a lot of people feel good. Interestingly, the alcohol-free sangria ran out at a much faster rate than the alcohol sangria.

No Mommy Juice

One of the things that I say a lot, and I absolutely love, is I love that I’m at a point in my life that no matter what is in my glass, if my kids want a sip of it, I can say, “Yeah, go ahead.” There’s not going to be, “No, this is just for mommy,” and that’s because you know, alcohol-free sangria. Sure. Have a sip no problem. You know, it’s not just a mommy drink. That’s great.

Time Will Tell

As time went on, as the years went on, people knew that I just didn’t drink and my husband and I just didn’t see the point anymore to serve alcohol. We just stopped. Some people still bring their own. Most recently we had a birthday party this past summer for my same son, and we had lots and lots of different drink options. We didn’t have any alcohol and there were two different people who showed up with their own six pack of whatever. That for me was totally fine.

It's Your Call To Serve Alcohol

Now, if it’s not fine with you, again, that’s the most important thing, but I think people change the most when they don’t feel pressured to. They can become most mindful of their own behavior and their own relationship with alcohol when they don’t feel judged and when they don’t feel like you’re kind of putting any expectation on them. Then they can say, “Huh.” I think one of the coolest things is that people come to our house and they still come over for dinner or they have dinner parties or whatever, and they don’t bring the bottle of wine anymore cause they know we’re not gonna be drinking it. They go home, and it might be the only time that entire month that they hung out, and for some of our friends, it’s absolutely true that they didn’t drink, and they have a great time.

Changing Perceptions About Alcohol

It’s so empowering for them to be like, “Wow, that was okay.” You know? So it’s almost like the reverse. They’re having those experiences of not drinking with us and then that’s really good. So, no, we don’t serve alcohol anymore. I’m less bothered by it probably now than ever before, but equally in my early days I was so concerned with how everybody else was going to feel that it was really important to me to make everybody feel really good and serve the alcohol. Now people know, I mean obviously I’ve written a book about it, people know that I don’t drink, and so not serving it is just much more natural and feels more authentic to me.

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Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
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