Five Practices for Staying Sober During 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 feel ready and comfortable to share, it can be incredibly helpful to tell those around you and those hosting the party that you are sober and gain their support and aid in eluding temptation. The more people you have around to hold you accountable, the more likely you are to avoid using. Additionally, it is likely that if the people around you are aware that you are in recovery, they may be willing to do what they can to support you through that journey, even call for an entirely sober event.

sober holidays

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. There are so many reasons why someone might choose to abstain from booze, and none of them are inherently the business of anyone else—holiday hosts included.

Don’t ask why someone is not drinking

“Most people aren’t going to say ‘What are you drinking? During the holidays, AA and NA have many gatherings that serve as safe and smart alternatives to alcohol-infused parties. If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health or substance abuse, we can help.

sober holidays

Remember that there are sober support groups in your area that most likely throw their own holiday parties, such as Alcoholics Anonymous. Going to a sober holiday party will keep you comfortable and less anxious about relapsing as you hang out with like-minded people that found happiness in sobriety too. The holidays can be exhilarating, offering an opportunity to reconnect with people you haven’t seen in a long time. But don’t lose touch with your mental or emotional state in the holiday frenzy. Set yourself up for successful sober holidays by checking in with yourself.

Set on the sugar sands of Grace Bay beach

Learn to recognize when your social energy is tapped out so that you can leave while your mental resolve is still clear and strong. Many local recovery clubs have meeting marathons during the holidays. Use phone meetings if attending face-to-face isn’t a possibility.

sober holidays

Just because something is a party doesn’t make it abnormal for someone to abstain from alcohol—in the same way that, again, it isn’t strange to abstain on any given day. “At a societal level, we’re finally beginning to recognize that alcohol doesn’t have to ‘own’ celebration, connection, and socializing,” says Emily Heintz, founder of alcohol-free drink retailer Sèchey. The holidays can be exhausting, expensive, and stressful. Take the time this sober holiday to meditate, exercise, sleep and eat. I spent the first day of 2017 horribly hungover and never had another drink.

Know your triggers and have support on standby.

Today, I’ve exercised this muscle so much that the holidays don’t phase me. After I got sober 16 years ago, six days before I turned 25, I no longer had the bottle to fall back on, so I was forced to learn how to survive. I have a job I love, hobbies I enjoy, and a family who trusts me. I’ve built a social circle with a wife and kids and friends who support me and love me. I have a lot to celebrate this holiday season—I just do it without alcohol. If you are struggling with alcohol addiction and you have decided you wish to stop drinking altogether, the thought of getting through the holidays is likely to be a concern.

  • Part of the cultural resistance to giving up alcohol on holiday comes from how we learn to drink.
  • Whether your loved one is trying to set boundaries or repair a damaged relationship, they might not be prepared to do so right now.
  • This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to sail down the Mekong River and visit some of the most extraordinary sights SE Asia has to offer.

There’s a difference between toxic influences (such as those who encouraged and contributed to past addictive behaviors) and unhealthy dynamics (such as a loved one who doesn’t know how to respect boundaries). While the former needs to be released because the very relationship was toxic, the latter might just need some boundaries established to foster a healthier dynamic. It helps to mentally focus on a chosen sober activity rather than fixating on the desire to drink or all the drinking around you. I eschewed my usual holiday diet of mindless thrillers to read books that required concentration.

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