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In Recovery? – 10 Ways to Celebrate the Holidays Without Alcohol

In the past, when the holidays rolled around you most likely did the same thing that you did at every major occasion—drink.

However, perhaps now you’re trying to live sober, and it’s your first holiday season without alcohol.

The thought of getting through this time of year without taking a drink can be really nerve-wracking. After all, in the past, it may have been alcohol that got the party started and helped keep you going all night long. Or it may have been the extra shot of courage when you went home to see your parents or visit family.

So, what to do now?

If you’re in recovery, here are ten ways to celebrate the holidays without alcohol.

1. Get Outside!

First, why not get outside for the holidays. You don’t have to be a nature-buff and go camping for a week in the mountains (but that’s not a bad idea!). Instead, get together with some friends to go ice skating or hit a few rounds of golf. And of course, if you live in an area that gets snow, there’s always going cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.

2. Cook a Meal at Home

Closer to home, why not spend an evening cooking your favorite meal? Invite a friend over to share. Preparing food and sharing with others is certainly another part of the holiday season that sometimes gets overlooked when you’re focused on alcohol.

3. Host a Health-Themed Pot-Luck Dinner

Speaking of food, you could invite friends and family to a health-themed pot luck dinner. The idea is that instead of everyone bringing the tired old staples of potlucks (chips, casseroles, alcohol), you bring healthy alternatives. For instance, dishes made from clean and organic ingredients.

4. Exercise!

Working out is healthy and it helps to keep your mind from thinking about the holidays… and the drinking. Plus, it helps to get in a few workouts at the gym to fend off the extra calories from all the food you’re eating. If you already belong to a gym, check to see if they will have a special holiday workout planned.

5. Run a 5K

Okay, maybe running isn’t your thing. That’s alright. But in the interest of trying new things for the holidays, why not sign up for a 5K race? It could be a different way to get out, enjoy the fresh air, get some exercise (see above), and meet new people.

6. Volunteer

Of course, there are people who are in need all year long. However, the holidays can be particularly hard. Consider volunteering with a nonprofit or charity in your area that connects with your values. Whether it’s helping the homeless, working at a kitchen that serves hot meals, or even building trails—it’s your choice.

7. Attend a Holiday Performance

Ever thought about attending the theater or seeing a concert during the holidays? Whether it’s a holiday classic like The Nutcracker or seeing your favorite band that happens to be in town, there are plenty of options available. Why not look for one that interests you?

8. Connect with Your Sponsor

If you have a sobriety sponsor as part of a recovery program, make sure to connect with them. Of course, this doesn’t mean connection just when you are in crisis. Why not get together for coffee and just chat? It helps to know that someone out there understands what it means to stay sober during the holidays.

9. Throw an Alcohol-Free Holiday Party

One of the best ways to own your sobriety is to be open and frank about it. So, why not host an alcohol-free party yourself? It might be hard putting yourself out there, letting everyone in your social group know that you want to celebrate sober. However, you might be surprised by how willing people can be to not just support you but also attend an event that doesn’t have alcohol.

10. Start a New Tradition

This could be something that you do yourself or with family and friends. Why not make this year the start of a new tradition that embraces and celebrates not just the holidays but your sobriety too?

For way too long, you may have associated sobriety with a lack of fun. Now, though, you are walking the path yourself. Sobriety doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the holidays. In fact, it can actually help to make them more enjoyable.

However, if you are struggling with staying away from alcohol during the holiday season, please feel free to contact us for additional support.

AuthorJoshua Howell, MS, LPC, NCC, AADC, ICAADC, SAP, SAE

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