Ensure your gathering is comfortable for people with substance use disorders

Summer in the Maritimes is a social and joyful time to laugh and connect with others. 

But summer can be a difficult time for people in recovery. Whether it’s boating, camping, or BBQs, it’s great to spend time outdoors with people we love. The challenge, however, is in the past, these were often situations where default activities included drinking or substance use. 

If you search the term “Hosting a Sober BBQ,” you’ll find very little advice for hosts. Instead, you’ll find lists and strategies for guests in recovery. 

Since Maritime hospitality means going above and beyond to make your guests feel welcome and at home, here are a few suggestions for how to make your gatherings safe and fun for everyone involved.

  1. Have food available throughout the entire event. Food is a basic need and fundamental to our physical and emotional needs.   
  2. Provide a variety of interesting non-alcoholic beverages. The grocery store is exploding with exciting options: refreshing, hydrating, and (sometimes) healthy. 
  3. Organize games, sports, or activities. Indoors and out. Adults-only and all ages.  
  4. Start early. Some of your guests are sober, and some are going to drink; an earlier start time means they’ll have more time together before their paths diverge. 
  5. Have a quiet space(s) available for rest and breaks. 
  6. Accept help with dishes, prep, or organizing a game. Let your guest have a break from the group while still feeling a part of it. 
  7. Don’t block the exits. Late nights and intoxicated friends and family can be triggering for people in recovery. Don’t take it personally if they leave early; this may have been an enormous success – and you helped. 

Whatever you do, in the name of Maritime Hospitality, put yourself in the shoes of a guest in recovery and ask, would I feel safe, would I have fun, would I feel welcome?  

We Can Help You

Ledgehill’s two facilities in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, provide gender-specific treatment for men and women who need to heal in a peaceful, supportive environment free from fear or distraction. If you’d like to learn more about the addiction and mental health treatment programs provided by Ledgehill, enrol yourself in one of our programs, or refer someone else, please call us at 1-866-819-3110.