Alysse Bryson

Promoting Sobriety in the Workplace: How Meta’s Dry January Event Encourages Inclusive Socializing

There’s a certain joy that comes from the convergence of personal and professional life, a sentiment I’m often reminded of by boss and my mentor, Dan Rogers. He champions the idea of embracing life as a whole rather than segmenting it into compartments. This latest diary entry encapsulates that concept perfectly.

On January 11th, 2024, I had the honor of representing The Sober Curator as a guest judge at Meta’s “From Scratch” Dry January event held at their Redmond, WA campus. As a staunch advocate for reimagining the role of alcohol in corporate settings and promoting community-building activities that aren’t centered around alcohol consumption, I found this event incredibly gratifying.

Kelli Bielema, Event Manager at Meta and a cherished friend from my Seattle lifestyle media party circuit days, collaborated with Elizabeth Gascoigne, the founder of Absence of Proof. They put together an interactive “From Scratch” mocktail class, followed by a spirited mocktail competition for Meta’s employees. The participating brands included Ritual Zero Proof, Surely, Spiritless, Mingle, and Suntory.

The event allowed Meta employees to showcase their creativity by crafting their signature alcohol-free drinks, competing for top honors in Presentation, Taste, and Creativity. The event culminated in a lively happy hour featuring record scratch lessons from DJ Baby Van Beezly and some energy-boosting wings courtesy of Red Bull, the OG alcohol-free party drink to get the party started.

For those in the corporate world, take a leaf out of Meta’s book – your employees will appreciate a broader range of options for socializing without alcohol, not just in January, all year round. I earnestly hope that this trend towards more inclusive workplace events continues to gain momentum.

One such trailblazer in this arena is Sober Positive Workplace, co-founded by DeAnn Knighton, a virtual sober companion of mine. This organization collaborates with various companies and corporations to foster more inclusive environments demonstrating a commitment to sober positivity and awareness. These initiatives are game changers, challenging stereotypes and reshaping societal attitudes.

This brings to mind the times during the pandemic when Premera Blue Cross Blue Shield invited The Sober Curator to enlighten their 1,500+ WA State employees about redefining the role of alcohol in the workplace. During these virtual courses, I also shared ideas for socially inclusive activities and introduced a variety of non-alcoholic beverage brands that have emerged in recent years. With a plethora of options at hand, event planners can easily cater to the needs of the non-drinking community beyond the usual water, soda, coffee trifecta. After all, those of us on the sober path appreciate variety and elegance in our glassware too!

Witnessing the enthusiasm and enjoyment of Meta’s employees was truly inspiring, as was finally meeting Elizabeth in person. I’ve been a fan of Absence of Proof since its inception in 2022 and it’s been a delight to watch its growth and success.

I feel privileged to be able to blend my passion for recovery with my professional life, without the need for secrecy. My decision to publicly embrace my recovery journey with the launch of The Sober Curator in the summer of 2020 marked a turning point in my 15 years of sobriety at that time. Being open about my sobriety journey has fostered a sense of connection and camaraderie that I had not anticipated.

The number of messages and connections that have emerged since I stepped out of the sober closet on the world wide web is nothing short of overwhelming. It’s been a profound experience to be on the receiving end of so much gratitude and heartfelt communication from those seeking support and guidance on their own path to sobriety. Sharing resources, insights, and personal experiences that have helped me along the way has been incredibly rewarding. It reinforces the belief that we are stronger together, and collectively, we can redefine societal norms around alcohol, one sober positive workplace event at a time.

Through initiatives like Meta’s “From Scratch” Dry January event and organizations like Sober Positive Workplace, we’re making strides towards creating more inclusive spaces for everyone, regardless of their relationship with alcohol. As we continue to build this community, I look forward to seeing the ripple effects of these efforts, promoting healthier lifestyles and fostering genuine connections based on shared interests and mutual respect.

How does all of this tie back to my day job? At WORKP2P, we are putting work first and we are on a mission to redeem work – the word, the place, and the way. Rethinking drinking in the workplace and providing events like this one with Absence of Proof at Meta Redmond Campus definitely improves “the place.” When employees are inspired by the work they are doing and provided a great environment to work in, it’s a win-win for everyone involved.

As we continue to evolve the workplace, it’s crucial to consider the diverse needs and lifestyles of our employees. The shift towards sober-friendly events, like the one described in this post, is a testament to this commitment. It’s about creating a space where everyone can participate fully, whether they choose to drink or not.

As the Founder of The Sober Curator, I’m proud to be part of this movement, demonstrating that sobriety doesn’t equate to a lack of fun or camaraderie. It’s about ensuring everyone has a place at the table, regardless of what’s in their glass. By prioritizing inclusivity and respect for individual choices, we’re not just improving “the place” – we’re transforming the way we work, one work event at a time.

Click HERE to watch my IG Reel behind the scenes at “From Scratch” with Absence of Proof

About Absence of Proof

Elizabeth Gascoigne, the founder and CEO of Absence of Proof, started her journey towards creating a unique, alcohol-free nightlife experience after eliminating alcohol from her life in 2022. She noticed a significant gap in the market for social experiences that didn’t revolve around drinking, particularly in the vibrant city of New York. This realization inspired her to create Absence of Proof, a pop-up bar offering an exciting, alcohol-free nightlife experience.

Over time, Absence of Proof has hosted numerous successful events in New York City, fostering a robust community around sober living. Despite this success, Elizabeth identified another opportunity to further normalize sobriety: offering the chance to recreate the Absence of Proof experience at home. In response to numerous social media inquiries, Elizabeth launched the Absence of Proof bottle shop, allowing customers to enjoy the unique, non-alcoholic cocktail experience wherever they are.

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