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At holiday parties, how to make room for your sober friends

Eve Ruff said to let your sober friends know that you want them at your holiday party and then make them comfortable. Ask them if there is someone they can invite,and there is certain food or music they might enjoy. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
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Holidays like Christmas and New Years Eve are filled with opportunities to see friends and loved ones. Often, however, those get-togethers involve drinking.

A midnight toast and more can become an awkward, and sometimes dangerous, situation for friends who are recovering alcoholics or have not yet sought treatment for alcoholism.

So, how do you handle that? Do you just not invite them?

Eve Ruff, CEO of a women’s-only addiction recovery center in Kirkland called “Residence 12” told KIRO Radio’s Colleen O’Brien how to navigate these parties.

“What is your responsibility (as the host) and what is the responsibility of the individual who might be an alcoholic, who is coming,” said Ruff.

If it’s a close friend who is staying sober, Ruff recommends talking to them about the party – don’t just hope they come to the party and feel comfortable in mixed company.

She said as the host, the most obvious move is to put your friend at ease if you do know they want to be sober. First, let them know that you’ll be providing sober beverages. “You should be doing that for your friends that are not recovering from alcoholism,” said Ruff.

She also suggests that you invite those friends to come early to the party and maybe leave a little bit earlier, so that you reduce their exposure to the frivolity that goes along with those who tend to “over-indulge.”

Ruff also said to let your friends know that you want them there and then make them comfortable. Ask them if there is someone they can invite, and if there is certain food or music they might enjoy.

“Those kinds of things alleviate the burden,” she said.

Most importantly, Ruff stressed that friends arm themselves with information because alcoholism and drug addiction doesn’t always present itself as something obvious.

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