The holidays are fast approaching and for a recovering alcoholic staying sober during the holidays can be difficult while trying to control the temptation to have a drink. Many factors contribute to this – holiday parties, the expectation to have a glass of wine or toast – and of course memories of many years passed of indulging in alcohol during the holidays.
While it may be okay for some recovered alcoholics to have ONE GLASS of wine for example after a long period of continued sobriety, unless you have been sober for a year or longer, its best to avoid alcohol altogether, since limiting yourself to just one drink or one occurrence can be very difficult.
Here are some tips for staying sober during the holidays:
1. Have Excuses Ready: There is often a lot of pressure for someone to drink during the holidays – or many hosts may even just casually offer an alcoholic drink. Have a list of reasons why you do not want a drink and practice saying them out loud. Good excuses include “I’m driving” and “Ah, it’ll just put me to sleep”. Maybe you have to work in the morning? Be creative and you’ll be sure to find a few good reasons why not to drink that your hosts should graciously understand without getting into your rehab story.
2. Have a Substitute: Just because you’re not drinking alcohol doesn’t mean your drinks can’t still be fun. Go for a flavored coffee, add a cherry or lime to your soda, and even enjoy it in a fancy glass. There are plenty of great non-alcoholic drinks to make (see our list coming soon!). Also, once you get past the initial offer, chances are no one is really going to take much attention to what you’re drinking anyway. (Unless it looks so good they want one too!)
3. Give Your Mind Rest: The holidays can be stressful for many people, from the usual family demands to even Christmas shopping. Some people just have a natural depression around holiday time, especially if it reminds them of people who are no longer around to enjoy it with. Be sure you talk to someone about any stress or feelings you have, as well as use healthy ways to alleviate stress and anxiety.
4. Keep Busy: Plan some fun activities you might enjoy that don’t involve alcohol – baking cookies or going to see holiday shows or displays can be a fun way to forget about drinking all together. Volunteering during the holidays can also be a very rewarding way to help others as well as meet and make new friends.
The holidays can be a wonderful time to celebrate – so however you do it remember that it doesn’t need to be about drinking to have fun – and you might be surprised your first sober holidays can be some of your happiest moments!