Anyone who has been through recovery knows how hard it can be to get through the holidays as a sober person. The holidays are a time where people are celebrating and throwing parties or get togethers that usually involve alcohol. Worse still, many former alcoholics associate the holidays with drinking and find it hard to break the connection that they have between Christmas parties and alcohol.
Another reason people struggle with the urge to drink during the holidays is that it can actually be a stressful time with shopping for everyone on your list and seeing relatives or friends you haven’t seen all year and might not have the best relationship with.
People tend to get stressed, lonely and depressed during the holidays especially if they don’t feel like they are in the holiday spirit. However, it’s very important to find ways to stay sober during the holidays and not become overwhelmed to the point of being tempted to drink.
Here are some tips for staying sober during the holidays
1.Plan and Prepare as Much as Possible
You never want to be caught off guard and end up in a situation where you feel you can’t escape the temptation to drink. You should plan out every holiday beforehand and be aware of the events that are coming up so that you know how to handle them.
You can start to write down and figure out what you will do when you feel uncomfortable and make sure you have options to leave every party in case it becomes too stressful.
It is important to always have a ride home from a party or someone you can call to help you if you are in trouble and feel you might relapse. Have a list of friends you can connect with on your phone in case you need to step out. Also make sure and have Lyft or Uber installed on your mobile so you can make a quick escape if needed.
Protecting your sobriety should be your top priority so don’t worry about offending uncle John.
2. Stay Connected with Other Sober People
Going to parties where everyone drinks but you can be very isolating and make you feel out of place. Make sure that you talk to sober friends and continue going to your support group meetings so that you have a community of people to fall back on. You never want to feel that you are going through the holidays alone so make sure that you have people you can talk to whenever you need support.
And feel free to invite a sober friend to join you at a party. It might seem awkward but just tell your family that your friend didn’t have a party to attend.
3. Create New Traditions and Activities
Instead of feeling obligated to go to parties surrounded by alcohol you can plan your own activities and set up some new traditions. Think of some day trips or holiday events you can attend that don’t involve alcohol. You can take your family or some people from your support group that need some new traditions too.
Eventually you will begin to look forward to these new traditions and realize that you can enjoy the holidays without any alcohol or drugs in the picture.
4. Think About How to Address Your Sobriety
In recovery, people may feel stressed out or self-conscious about being asked why they aren’t drinking. You can prepare for this situation by thinking of some responses that you feel comfortable saying to others without leaving any door open that implies you could potentially have a drink.
If people understand that you have made a firm decision not to drink they will be less likely to egg you on and put you in a situation where you feel tempted or pressured to join in.
It is up to you to decide when you are ready to tell people that you are in recovery. There might be some people you feel comfortable opening up to about your addiction and others that you prefer not to know.
If you don’t want to talk about your choice to become sober you can simply say “I’m not drinking tonight” or say that you are the designated driver to avoid anymore questions.
5. Stay Focused on Gratitude
One of the intentions of the holiday season is for people to feel a sense of gratitude for everything that they have. It is easy to forget in the stress and pressure of daily life how much you really have to be grateful for. You can make a list of the things you are grateful for everyday which will help you quickly get out of a negative state of mind.
Even when things feel especially bad, there is always some way to experience a sense of gratitude. You can always be grateful for your sobriety, your health, your home and the people in your life that you love and trust. Gratitude is a powerful tool to keep you on track throughout the holidays.
One technique that’s worked for us is to get a small group of recovery friends and share a gratitude list via text daily. This will help you stay connected and see what others are grateful for during the holidays. This practice will also help deepen your relationships with sober friends which will come in handy during stressful times.
We hope the holidays go smoothly for you but if they don’t we are here for you. Please call us if you or a loved one needs help. We are here 24/7 at Please share with a friend if the article was helpful.