re: Alcohol and developer culture VIEW POST

FULL DISCUSSION
 

Hey Scott! Thanks for sharing your story.

As an event and meetup organizer my main concern is always making sure everyone is having a great experience. It might be little bit cultural difference between Finland and what I assume to be US in terms of peer-pressure but I was hoping you could provide some ideas from your point of view.

We have a lot of developers who enjoy drinking a beer or two in our meetups but we always make sure we have sodas and mineral water available for people who don't want to (or can't) drink alcohol.

For you, especially in the beginning (as you mentioned it was harder back then), is it more about the availability of alcohol and other people drinking it that makes it difficult, is it the lack of non-alcoholic options, or other people actively pressuring you to drink?

 

I'd be happy to share what I can to help!

Availability is the biggest challenge in the very beginning, but I don't think it means you need to stop serving alcohol. That's up to the person with the problem to deal with here. Some of the tenants that Alcoholics Anonymous or other programs say are things like "Sober people, sober places." or "If you're not sure if you're gonna be unable to NOT drink, leave." which are fine pieces of advice. I would for sure make it known that there will be alcohol at the event prior so that the person can make a choice to go or not depending on where they are in their sobriety.

Very rarely do people truly continuously pressure you to drink unless they have a problem. Normally just saying that you're not drinking or don't drink is enough for them. You don't even need to share the reason, most people know to back off.

I find sometimes lack of non-alcoholic options is a problem, but not often. Normally on that front though, its more of a feeling left out kind of thing. In America we have lots of craft beers, and those are normally at start up kind of events. So if I'm offered a coca-cola in a can, and everyone else is getting nice fancy beer bottles of craft beers, or they have really fancy wines, I feel left out and like an after thought with my coca-cola. Some places will get the nicer coke that come in the glass bottles and use real sugar, and then I feel a LOT less excluded, and makes me feel like people are less likely to notice I'm not drinking. On that same front, though VERY rarely, someone will start a drinking game and you always feel really lame and making other people drink when you're not so you won't participate and feel left out. Though that's really not much of a consideration at events.

Let me know if I can answer other questions or clarify something!

 

Thanks for your reply, I appreciate you taking your time for it.

I'm happy to hear the situation with direct peer-pressure is not that bad. My personal experience with periods of not drinking is quite in line with that: usually just saying no is good enough answer (as it always should be).

I do think that if a person has to skip an event or feel excluded because of alcohol, it's a problem for the community. We should aim to build communities that include everyone interested in the community's niche regardless of certain unrelated factors like gender, religion or in this case, alcohol consumption habits.

Interesting point about coke vs craft beer. I have never thought about it that way and I'm happy you brought it up. I have to pay bit more attention towards that and see what the local soda selection is. I've always been a huge fan of Coca Cola myself so probably that's one reason it has never crossed my mind. For events with open bar, I totally agree with the cocktail/mocktail aspect that was mentioned in another comment.

I do think that if a person has to skip an event or feel excluded because of alcohol, it's a problem for the community.

Generally from what I've seen people only feel pressured to skip events early into sobriety. Going places where they use to drink, or going anywhere that is not Work -> Home -> Support Meetings -> Home in the early days of sobriety is too risky. Its less that its not inclusive, its more that its so early in sobriety that anywhere they are might trigger an urge to drink, even if there's no alcohol. or they may pass a liquor store on the way home, which is not the event organizer's problem. So don't worry too much on that front, its more of a quirk of early sobriety than anything. Like someone on a new diet won't even step foot in a restaurant, you wouldn't not serve food cause someone may be on a diet would you?

And for craft soda, it doesn't have to be fancy even, just to prevent the feel of missing out, so even like sparkling grape juice and having all the beer be poured into glasses could even work. Some people don't really care much, but some people don't want anyone to know they have a problem so being able to look normal helps. :) That said, we have a craft soda shop here and I know I'd be super happy to see some of that there, also I think there are craft soda subscription boxes!

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