One of the most effective ways to lessen the burden of tension is for the addict, especially those who are newly recovered, to just admit they will feel uncomfortable and awkward. This can take the edge off a bit. Holding on and burying the truth can create an intimidating social situation, so owning up to this feeling is a positive step, and over time these feelings become less.
By planning ahead, the addict can talk out what they plan to do. If not holding a drink in your hand is uncomfortable, plan to get a non-alcoholic beverage and bring it. By bringing flavored, sparkling water you might find that there are others like you in the crowd. You might even find another sober person, which can surely make the evening move quickly. Be sure to have a phone number of a supportive person, and also plan to stay only a specific amount of time, but do not feel bad if you need to leave sooner.
There will be times that other people will not take 'no' for an answer. This is about them, not about you. Their life experience makes it uncomfortable for people not to be drinking around them. If they do persist the recovering addict, you, can trying looking them in the eye and saying something like, "No, thanks. Taking it easy tonight," or, "I'm driving," or even "I've got two other parties later, and need to make them."
No one can make an addict drink, but the addict. There is nothing wrong with choosing to follow a sober living lifestyle.