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National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)

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Support your team and your guests: Tips for hosting a party including guests who may not be drinking

It’s Big Game time and March Madness is fast approaching providing opportunities for fans to get together and cheer on their favorite teams. While planning festivities be aware that some guests may choose to celebrate without consuming alcohol.

Whether your guests are abstaining because they are driving after the game or have an early morning the next day or because they are taking a break from alcohol to reevaluate their relationship with alcohol, be prepared to support their choice. Others may opt not to drink because they are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, take medications that interact with alcohol, or have a medical condition that can be made worse by consuming alcohol. Some individuals become flushed, light-headed, and nauseous when they drink due to reduced alcohol metabolism. As a host, it's easy to provide options for non-drinkers.

The following tips support guests who won’t be drinking as well as preventing guests who choose to drink from overindulging in alcohol:

  • Have a variety of alcohol-free drinks—such as, water, juices, and sparkling sodas—available for your guests.
  • Put more emphasis on food than drinks.
  • Make sure your guests are aware which foods or drinks contain alcohol.
  • Don’t call attention to guests who are not drinking—they don’t need an excuse.
  • Identify and address potential triggers for someone with an alcohol problem. For example, since the sight of beer and liquor bottles could cause alcohol cravings in some people, consider serving alcohol containing drinks in cups and glasses and keep the alcohol containing containers elsewhere.

Also, keep in mind that not all alcohol-containing drinks are created equal. NIAAA’s alcohol calculators can help assess the number of standard drinks in common beverages and mixed drinks and help predict calories and costs related to drinking. If you think you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol and needs help, visit the NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator to learn about quality care and treatment options near you.

Best wishes,
George F. Koob, Ph.D.
NIAAA Director

Need Help for an Alcohol Problem?

If you’re having an emergency, call 911. If you are having suicidal thoughts, call 911, go to the nearest emergency room or call the toll-free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to help you through this difficult time.

The NIAAA Alcohol Treatment Navigator can help you recognize and find high quality treatment for alcohol use disorder. If you drink excessively, seek medical help to plan a safe recovery as sudden abstinence can be life threatening. NIAAA’s Rethinking Drinking can help you assess your drinking habits and provides information to help you cut back or stop drinking.

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