We’ve all encountered that “really-drunk” girl at parties; the girl who drinks other people’s drinks, stumbles around, slurs her words, and ends up hugging the toilet for the night. While these people can be funny and the life of the party, when the girl is a sister the situation can quickly turn from entertaining to serious. Sororities put a premium on social behavior, whether its a sisterhood event, fraternity formal, or casual party with friends. Sisters are always reminded of the severe repercussions of indecent behavior, including individual fines and punishments as well as detriment to the chapter. Despite the warnings, bad behavior tends to happen (that’s just a fact of life), and, unfortunately, in the case of alcohol consumption, the probability for bad behavior increases substantially. So what can your chapter do?
One of the most popular, and most proven, ways to curb excessive drinking (and the associated indecent behavior), is to create a sober sister program. Many sororities already have these programs, so ask your chapter adviser or nationals for help before starting. The fundamental idea of a sober sister program is as follows: sisters stay sober and are “on call” to assist other sisters who become inebriated. Very simple to remember.
Picking the Sober Sisters
To start the program, designate a certain sisters to be the “sober sisters” for the week. I suggest about three or four people, especially if there is a large event coming up that the majority of the chapter plans to attend. Designation of sober sisters can be made by the executive members or by members volunteering themselves. Once the sisters are chosen, circulate their contact information to the entire chapter. I suggest doing this at chapter meeting, but always remember to send the information out on your listserv or publish it to your online site for sisters who aren’t at meeting. When picking sober sisters be sure to emphasize two things:
- sober sisters are available round the clock for the entire week (some chapters limit the time, such as between 8pm and 3am, but that is up to your chapter)
- sober sisters must remain sober! Even if someone is 21 or older, it is their responsibility to remain sober and take care of their sisters
But wait, you’re not done yet.
The success of a sober sisters program relies not only on members taking responsibility for themselves and their sisters, but also on how knowledgeable your members are. Any sister can be a designated driver and drive a drunk person home. But what if the individual has alcohol poisoning? Or what if your sister has been drugged or is on drugs? When you begin the sober sister program, I also suggest giving an alcohol and drug education course to the entire chapter. The information may be tedious, but what is the point of having a sober sister if they don’t know what to do?
My final suggestion is to drill your executive members on alcohol and drug education. Since they are the leaders of the chapter, that makes them the go-to people if a sister (sober or inebriated) finds herself in a fix. Your executive members should consider themselves the “last resort” sober sisters, and should be prepared for any situation. As the old adage goes: “hope for the best, and prepare for the worst”.