Managing Sobriety During the Holidays

Staying Sober During the Holidays


‘Tis the most dangerous season in the United States for those in recovery, focusing on staying sober during the holidays, along with the public utilizing our roadways. With festive events and holiday gatherings, this time of year consists of more alcohol-related fatalities than any other season, and American Substance Abuse Professionals (ASAP) wants to ensure the safety of our public – whether on the roadways or on the job, it’s important to put sobriety and safety first.

Staying sober during the holidays can be a challenge for many, more so than drinking and driving. For alcoholics and the families affected by alcoholism, Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day can be one of the most difficult times during recovery and for practicing sobriety.

The holiday time can pose many threats to sober-living due to a variety of emotions some may feel during the celebratory events. For some, triggers to consume alcohol can be felt with stress, anxiety, anger, sadness, loneliness, or depression, and can overwhelm someone already facing the day-to-day challenges of sobriety. Some may also face enhanced emotions that make them want to cope with their feelings by turning to alcohol, but here are some tips to help you navigate sobriety this season:

  • Have a plan before you’re put into a situation that requires one! If you know you’ll be around certain individuals or a group that promotes drinking or triggers you to drink, plan ahead and enable yourself to remain sober and steer clear of alcohol. The choice is yours and you CAN choose not to drink!
  • Confide in someone you trust to be your voice of reason if you feel triggered. If you have a family member, friend, therapist, or sponsor, allow them to hold you accountable for your sobriety. Entrust in them if you feel you may slip up and ask them to be readily available to guide you IF the urge sneaks up on you.
  • Bring a sober side-kick. Find someone who supports your journey and sober-living and tag-team events together. This can help keep you on the right path, give you a supportive shoulder and what a relapse can do to all your hard work!
  • Keep a “drink” in your hand and bring your own (non-alcoholic) beverages. This technique can prevent people from offering you a beverage if you’re already keeping a (non-alcoholic) beverage full! Sparkling seltzers, sodas, juices, or whatever non-alcoholic options you enjoy – stock up, bring them with you and enjoy the party!
  • Be true to yourself and have a response prepared. Meaning, when offered a drink by someone who is unaware that you’re in recovery, what will you say? Having a response already in your mind can help you calmy navigate the situation, reply appropriately, and help avoid temptation. You don’t have to overshare with anyone about why you’re not drinking, but you can respond with something along the lines of, “I have plans first thing in the morning” or “I’m driving tonight.” Be mindful of the events you choose to RSVP to and stay strong!

REMEMBER: Staying sober during the holidays means you are ALWAYS in control and can always say NO! Place yourself in situations that make you feel the safest and most comfortable, surrounding yourself with positivity and those you trust. If you or someone you know is at risk of drinking and driving, please call a sober ride or designated driver. You have a lot to lose!

Happy holidays!


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