July 4th Revelers: Label Your Alcohol for Friends in Recovery

First of all, Happy 4th of July, everyone!

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I just wanted to provide a friendly reminder for your July 4th festivities: be sure to label all of the alcoholic items you provide at your party for your friends in recovery.

It can be easy to mistake booze for non-alcoholic beverages, and innocent-looking dessert items as alcohol-free. The reason I’m providing this reminder is because I have a brother who is in recovery. Last year, we went to a family party and there was a large beverage dispenser full of sangria. Because it wasn’t labeled, he initially mistook it for fruit punch and poured himself a cup.

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He was in recovery for about three years at that point. And thank God he took a whiff of the drink before taking a sip, or else he would have risked relapsing. After smelling it, he asked me to taste it and tell me what it was. It was definitely sangria. I just about died thinking about how something so ordinary could automatically reverse the three years of progress in recovery. My brother works so hard to stay sober, and I felt a bit miffed at the party hosts, who knew my brother was in recovery but didn’t bother to tell him that the fruit punch-looking drink was sangria.

My brother wasn’t the only one who mistook the sangria for fruit punch. My 7-year-old nephew also tried pouring himself a cup of what he thought was fruit punch. We had to redirect him to the Hawaiian Punch in the cooler that was set aside for the kids at the party.

There are other things you need to watch out for. Not Your Father’s Root Beer is a popular drink right now. It’s alcoholic, but doesn’t really taste like it has alcohol in it.

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Be sure to label this as well. A person in recovery could easily mistake this for ordinary root beer.

Also be sure to label any desserts made with alcohol. While it is true that some of the alcohol is baked out, there are other desserts that have alcohol in their frosting, which is not baked out. Italian Rum Cake is a perfect example.

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It just seems like ordinary cake, and you wouldn’t know it had alcohol in it until you took a bite.

Please be sure to label all of your alcoholic items with a “Contains Alcohol” sign for your friends in recovery and people who haven’t reached the legal age to consume alcohol.

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And please have a happy and safe 4th of July, everyone!

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