Sober holidays: 5 top tips to help you enjoy your holiday alcohol-free

An alcohol or drug addiction changes the brain’s chemistry, leaving you vulnerable to relapse and a renewal of the substance abuse cycle. It’s not necessary to drink to enjoy and celebrate the holiday season. While it is true that people do drink more during the holidays, people who drink a lot may not realize that a large portion of the population don’t drink very much or even not at all.

cycle of addiction

It’s easy to get caught up in planning events, thinking about what might happen if you drink or use again, and wishing that everything was different than it is. But these thoughts are just distractions—they don’t help you stay sober or move forward with your growth as an individual. You’ll just need a bit of preparation and a lot of dedication to get through until January. Here are seven tips for staying sober during the holidays. If you have a drink in your hand, chances are you won’t attract as much attention as if your hands are empty.

How to Stay Sober During their Holidays

So here are some ways to stay sober during the holiday season. Whether you’re struggling with your sobriety or just want to make sure that you stay on track this holiday season, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to a friend, call a hotline, or talk with your doctor. Even if you’re not ready to go cold turkey on alcohol consumption—which is totally fine! —you can still get some guidance from people who know the ins and outs of staying sober while celebrating the holidays in a healthy way. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from being sober for two years now is that there are always people willing to give their advice when asked (as long as it’s coming from someone who actually cares).

  • A mobile phone can be a lifeline for keeping in touch with people who can help you cope if you’re struggling with sober holidays.
  • Navigating a holiday dinner with family can be tricky for individuals in recovery.
  • If you have a drink in your hand, chances are you won’t attract as much attention as if your hands are empty.
  • Think outside the box — maybe it’s an art class or ice skating.
  • Below, you’ll find all of our best tips and stories about staying sober for the holidays.

Al-Anon, for instance, offers meetings every hour on the hour over the phone on major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you aren’t feeling ready to be around alcohol-infused parties or have already gone to a few and have recognized you’ve reached your limit, you can always host your own sober party. Asking a friend or family member to spend the evening sober with you can be incredibly powerful with helping you maintain your sobriety. If you’re resistant to the idea because you don’t want to “burden” your loved one, turn the situation around. If they were in your shoes, would you want them to ask for your help? I spent the first day of 2017 horribly hungover and never had another drink.

Have Support Nearby

I´d like to suggest that if you think you might not be able to stay true to yourself and your choice of leading an alcohol-free life, then perhaps don´t go. There will be many more in the future and it isn’t worth risking your hard-earned sobriety for it. At family gatherings and social events, tote around your favorite non-alcoholic drink. People won’t feel so inclined to offer you a drink, and they won’t get the chance to pester you about your sobriety. On top of that, you can’t attend your home group meeting, and you haven’t heard from your sponsor in two days.

sober holidays

People often talk about sobriety as if it’s an all-or-nothing proposition. There are different levels of sobriety, and what counts as “sober” can vary from person to person. Bring an item with you that will make you feel calm or distract you. This could be a fragrance that helps you relax, or perhaps a cup of tea in your favorite mug. It could be as easy as downloading a game on your phone that you enjoy. Be sure to have something prepared and on hand if you begin to get overwhelmed during this festive season.

Care for Your Mental Health This Holiday:

You won’t have a clouded judgment or hazy memories by showing up to family functions sober. Being able to live in the past and recall all of the special moments that you were a part of this holiday season will help you get through your toughest days ahead. It’s been said that alcohol is the one drug people have to explain and justify not using to others. You know what you’re heading into from your past experiences.

  • If you’re feeling stressed, seek support from a therapist or a sober friend.
  • Despite being the holidays, 12-step meetings do not take days off.
  • Please call us to see if your HMO, PPO, or EPO insurance plan will cover your treatment.
  • Decide what your comfort level is and how you’ll respond to those questions before you’re in that situation.

The pressures of learning how to stay sober during the holidays are both internal and external. But you can stay sober, combat the temptations to drink or ‘party’ with forbidden substances, and begin the New Year with a clean and sober outlook. The holidays don’t have to be difficult for people in recovery.

In fact, depression rates tend to rise during December. Any losses you’ve suffered seem to be more painful at this time of year, and loneliness can be hard to bear. If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health or substance abuse, we can help. You might need help preparing yourself before and processing the experience after you attend a holiday party. Attending a 12-step meeting or connecting with a sponsor both before and after an event will provide you with the resources to navigate the whole experience successfully. Luckily, Into Action has options for dealing with your family holiday without sacrificing your sobriety or sanity.

It can be helpful to make a list of these ahead of time for easy access. Despite being the holidays, 12-step meetings do not take days off. Whether you are home for the holidays or traveling, find a meeting place or recovery center near you. Meet with others who are staying sober during the holidays, people who are like you and understand your journey, to help keep you on the right path.

For example, the rehabilitation services Plymouth Meeting offers might have different policies than our locations in New Jersey. If you have any questions about the recovery process, reach out to BoardPrep Recovery today. Please call us to see if your HMO, PPO, or EPO insurance plan will cover your treatment. That’s what a recovery friend called Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Whie parties like this may not be as crazy as the ones from your past, or be chalk full of guests, just know the ones who are there support you the most.

sober holidays

If you are in a place where your drug cravings start to unleash, have a plan to settle them. If you are uncomfortable at a party, be sure that you always have your own way home. Decide in advance what you are going to say if someone offers you a drink. A polite, clear “No, thank you” most often does the trick, but you may encounter pushy and prodding people as well.

Be easy on yourself

Prop yourself up by re-embracing your strategies to cope with your triggers to use. People drink more during the holidays, it’s just a fact. The day before Thanksgiving has come to be known as “Blackout Wednesday” and it rolls all the way through New Years Eve. Police step up patrols as drinking violations jump as much as 33% compared to the rest of the year. Some will justify the excesses and indulgences of the season with the thought that they’ll tone it down or abstain in the new year, making resolutions or participating in Dry January. Others may face consequences that require them to reexamine their relationship with alcohol and drugs.

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Add to that the pressure of gift-giving and attending parties, and it’s no wonder that so many people struggle to stay sober during the holidays. The holidays are a time for family, friends, and fun. But people in recovery can also be a time of temptation and relapse.