5 Tips for Celebrating the Holidays Sober

It’s not easy being sober during the holidays.

For many, “Holiday Cheer” means drinking. Either it’s a glass of wine at dinner, a beer while watching the big game, or champagne at New Year’s. This landscape makes it challenging if you are in recovery.

On the one hand, you don’t want to compromise your recovery and slip back into old ways. However, you don’t want to be singled out or not fit into the party. You just want to relax, enjoy yourself and be with your friends and family.

And that’s exactly what you should do.

Here are five tips for celebrating the holidays sober.

1. Have Your Support System in Place

Have your support systems in place before the holiday season. Regardless of the time of year, it’s critical for anyone in recovery to have adequate support. Recovery isn’t something that you can or should do alone.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Have a sober buddy for holiday parties
  • If you have a sponsor, such as through AA, have their number ready
  • Go to your meetings

When you have people who are rooting for you and are in your corner, it makes things so much easier when you are in recovery.

2. Be the Designated Driver

One “out” that you can take advantage of is volunteering to be the designated driver. It takes some of the pressure off, as having a “DD” has become more normalized and accepted in our culture.

When you’re at a party, saying that you’re the “DD” doesn’t have to require any follow-up explanation. Everyone knows the role that you are fulfilling and you can move on in the conversation.

You can also go a step further by taking advantage of the classic acronym BYOB and “bring your own beverage.” What’s great about this option is that you are in control of what you are consuming. You are not relying on finding a non-alcoholic option when going out.

3. Host Your Own Event

Why not take control of things and host your own event? It could be a small, intimate get-together with a few friends who support your wishes. Maybe it’s watching the big game at home. Or doing something fun that doesn’t require alcohol.

For example:

  • Playing a pickup game at the park
  • Going for a hike
  • Mini golf
  • Running a 5K

These are just a few ideas, so if they don’t resonate with you that’s OK.

Think about what you enjoy doing. If your first thought is, “that won’t work without booze,” then stop yourself. Question whether or not alcohol is really necessary to have a good time.

4. Connect with Other Like-Minded People

Why not connect with other like-minded people who are also in recovery? It’s a great way to build a community of support while having fun without alcohol.

Nowadays there are many options available that don’t have to always involve going to a meeting in a church basement. For example, The Phoenix is a group that promotes both sobriety and being active. This includes rock climbing, weight training, running, road and mountain biking, and snow sports.

5. Living a Healthier Lifestyle

If you are at a party or other holiday function and someone asks if you’re drinking, you can just say, “I’m trying to be healthy.” It’s the truth. And you don’t have to go into the details about your sobriety if you don’t want to.

A rising trend in health and fitness is curtailing alcohol consumption. It’s also known as being “sober-curious.” Often this is to reduce caloric intake with the goal of losing weight or meeting a fitness goal.

Today there are many options available for those who want to be sober during the holidays. Plus sober living is just more accepted these days. Try following the tips above. And remember, in the end, you don’t owe anyone an excuse for how you choose to live your life.



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