RE: Re: alcohol (was Question)
From: Susan Sweitzer (
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2006 10:53:40 -0800 (PST)
Thanks Lynn, good suggestions for questions.

I suspect that most co-housings learn over time that some issues are potentially
"hot" and others seem to simmer along, barely or rarely surfacing at all.  For
us, alcohol is one of the latter.  But once we make our way through the cats vs.
birds, the priorities for land use on the farm, the required vs. optional work
and energy efficiency issues and "fairness" stuff, we might well be ready to
tackle more discussion on a less energized issue.

Susan Sweitzer
Cobb Hill
3 Linden Road
Hartland, VT 05048

-----Original Message-----
From: Lynn Nadeau [mailto:welcome [at]] 
Sent: Tuesday, January 17, 2006 2:59 PM
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: [C-L]_ Re: alcohol (was Question)

> At ... we have a number of members and friends who either abstain from
> drinking alcohol on principle or are recovering alcoholics.  We try to be
> sensitive to their feelings about this and do not include alcohol in community
meals or community events unless publicized well in advance.  We haven't had any
overt discussion of this topic, so I am glad to see so many responses to this
question from other communities. 

My suggestion would be: discuss it! At a minimum, it would clarify if there 
really is an issue present. If there is, here are some ideas for getting 
from problem to solution:
1) A sharing circle (no cross talk, safe space to share thoughts and 
feelings). Topic -  People have diverse feelings and needs around the 
consumption of alcohol at community gatherings. What are yours? 

2) Having then heard concerns, which might range from "I can't be there if 
there is drinking" to "I would feel upset if we ruled out drinking", a task 
force (or individual) could draft a policy (maybe "no alcohol at meetings, 
alcohol regularly at TGIF gatherings, advance notice of alcohol-OK events", 
or "at gatherings with alcohol, provision of reserved table(s) for 
non-drinkers", or whatever seems it might meet a variety of needs. 

3) If appropriate, a discussion circle on the proposed policy, to further 
fine tune it before bringing it to a business meeting for decision. 

Lynn Nadeau
RoseWind Cohousing, Port Townsend WA 

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