Is it Rude to Drink in Front of an Alcoholic?

Everyone has been in a situation or two where they’ve had the choice whether or not to drink in front of an alcoholic… maybe at a wedding, or during a layover at an airport bar.

But, is it rude to have a drink in front of an alcoholic? Read on and discover the full answer below!

Is it Rude to Drink in Front of an Alcoholic?

No, it is not rude to drink in front of an alcoholic, generally speaking. If an alcoholic is somewhere that people are drinking, it is of their own accord. That means it is their responsibility to be able to handle it or suffer the consequences of their actions (not the actions of others). 

But, there are exceptions. Sometimes people drink in front of alcoholics, at small gatherings of friends or family, hoping to trigger their alcoholic tendencies or have the subject come up in conversation. In these cases, it is extremely rude and uncalled.

How Rude Is it?

Drinking alcohol in front of an alcoholic rates 3 out of 10 on the rude meter. Alcoholics have a problem that they need to deal with, and hopefully currently are dealing with, which is out of your hands, and (not to be rude) that is not your issue. 

If you are at a wedding, sports bar, or backyard family gathering where alcohol is flowing freely, there is nothing rude about partaking in it (alcoholics present or not).

Why is it Not Rude?

Consuming alcohol in front of others is part of the society that we live in. If someone has a severe issue with alcohol, they should keep themselves away from the stuff as much as possible. 

It is not rude to enjoy yourself and have a drink just because someone else can’t do the same That said, if they are fresh into recovery/rehab for alcoholism, then things are a bit more sensitive. 

Only in the case that no one else is drinking, or it would be uncalled for to have a drink in the first place (such as on the clock at work), is it rude to drink in front of an alcoholic (and anyone else for that matter).

Other Options to Do Instead

There aren’t many other options to do instead of having your drink, regardless of an alcoholic is present or not. That said, there are a few considerations you could make:

  • Walk away from the alcoholic individual and partake in your drink before returning
  • Drink your alcoholic beverage while facing away from the alcoholic
  • Skip the alcohol until the alcoholic has moved on to other individuals
  • Have an alcoholic drink before engaging with the alcoholic(s) present

Common Questions

Is it rude to drink in front of sober people?

In the case that you are at a party, at your own home, or attending a function or venue that serves alcohol, it is not rude to drink in front of others that are sober. Only in the case, they have stated that they would prefer no one drink is it considered rude.

Is it disrespectful to drink in front of alcoholics?

It is only disrespectful to drink in front of alcoholics who are fresh into recovering and have little to no control over themselves in regard to drinking. Recovered alcoholics are responsible for themselves, and know their limitations. If they put themselves in a position to see people drinking, it is their own doing.

When is it ok to drink in front of an alcoholic?

It is fine to drink in front of alcoholics at bars, restaurants, weddings, and other venues and events unless alcohol is not allowed. Alcoholics are responsible for themselves, but you shouldn’t rub it in their faces either.