Sober Inclusivity: Crafting Events Where Networking is King

Sober inclusivity, what does that mean exactly? That’s the question at the heart of episode #6 of the Morning Smiles Podcast, featuring Laura Nelson and Margy Schaller, who bring their expertise and personal journeys to the discussion about creating an environment where non-drinkers feel welcomed and integrated into social events. At the core, it’s about ensuring that choices around alcohol—or the lack thereof—aren’t just tolerated but celebrated within our spaces.

Sober inclusivity

Laura shares her path to this point, emphasizing that making everyone feel comfortable in a setting isn’t just about serving non-alcoholic drinks; it’s about fostering a space where whether or not you have alcohol in your glass is irrelevant. Reflecting on her own sober journey and the adjustments she navigated in social scenarios, she said, ‘”As glamorous as it sounds to travel around the country and go to events, it can be a very lonely life.’ Her choice to become sober was initially a private one, but she quickly realized it connected her to a community craving similar change. Her openness on social media, particularly TikTok, expanded that supportive network.

Margy Schaller, sharing her experience, also sheds light on feelings of isolation that partnering with Laura has helped alleviate. ‘I remember the first time I walked into a conference event…and somebody comes up and says, ‘can I get you guys a drink?’’ she recalled. To Margy, the question goes beyond whether there’s alcohol in her cup—it’s the feeling of being seen and included without the familiar crutch of something in hand.

Sober Inclusivity. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room—or rather, the elephant not in the room. The Sober Curious movement is spilling into every nook and cranny of our social lives, and it’s about time we toast to its success—with a mocktail, of course. This isn’t about demonizing the age-old practice of sipping a glass of bubbly. Instead, it’s about widening the circle, making room at the table for everyone, regardless of what’s in their cup.

Gone are the days when the length of the bar queue measured an event’s success. Today, we’re seeing a trend toward events that cater to every attendee, recognizing that, hey, not everyone wants to wake up with a hangover the size of Texas. And before you think this is about turning every shindig into a snooze-fest, let me stop you right there. This is about revolutionizing our social spaces to be as inclusive, vibrant, and downright fabulous as possible. Who said sober-inclusive couldn’t be sexy?

With the podcast Morning Smiles and Sober Life Rocks, Laura and Margy invite us all into a sober-inclusive future. They champion the necessity of networking without the default focus on alcohol, creating spaces where people connect authentically and comfortably. Their call to action isn’t just for the sober community; it’s a ten-part exploration into inclusivity in event planning that beckons everyone to contribute.

‘Let’s talk about it… let’s dive deep into it,’ urges Laura in one of the piercing moments of the podcast, challenging the norm and inviting a conversation long overdue. Margy eloquently added it’s about ‘thinking through, how can we build those bridges? How can we stay in community with each other?’ Their shared gratitude for the collaboration and the anticipation for the future episodes that will investigate this topic further is palpable.

Sober Inclusivity Events: Let’s Get the Party Started

So, how do we infuse this inclusive, “everyone’s welcome” vibe into events? First, let’s toss the notion that alcohol is the only ticket to a good time. Event organizers, it’s time to get creative.


      1. Mocktail Mastery: Elevate the non-alcoholic options beyond soda and water. Enlist a mixologist who specializes in mocktails that dazzle the taste buds. Trust me, when guests see a drink menu that includes a “Lavender Lemonade Fizz” or a “Spicy Pineapple Mule” sans alcohol, they won’t feel like they’re missing out—they’ll feel like they’re in on the secret.

      1. Engage, Don’t Imbibe: Build your event around activities that don’t center on alcohol. Think live music, interactive art installations, or a comedy show. Create experiences that engage the senses and spark conversation, proving that the best memories are made from shared moments, not shared rounds.

      1. Foodie Heaven: Let’s be real, who doesn’t love food? Elevate the culinary experience. A gourmet tasting menu or food stations featuring global cuisines can become the main attraction, offering a feast that ensures your event is memorable for all the right reasons.

      1. Inclusivity is Key: Make it clear in your invites and promotions that your event celebrates all choices. A simple line like, “Non-alcoholic delights and alcoholic beverages available to suit all our guests’ preferences,” sends a message of inclusivity and respect.

    Sober Inclusivity: The Heart of the Matter

    In embracing the sober curious movement and hosting events that cater to everyone, we’re doing more than just throwing a great party. We’re acknowledging and respecting individual choices. We’re fostering environments where everyone feels welcome, included, and free to be themselves—whether that’s with a mocktail, cocktail, or water bottle in hand.

    To be sober-inclusive is to understand everybody’s need for connection and comfort, to transcend traditional expectations, and, perhaps most pointedly, to move beyond what’s in the cup to what’s in the heart. 

    The beauty of the sober curious movement and the push for inclusive events is that it doesn’t ask us to choose sides. It simply invites us to open our minds to the possibilities of what socializing can look like in the 21st century. It dares us to imagine a world where fun isn’t measured by alcohol content but by the quality of connections, the depth of conversations, and the richness of experiences.

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