7 Practical Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

Published On: December 6, 2022|Categories: Recovery|
Cheerful smiling African-American woman embracing her female friend during a dinner with family and friends.

Your first few years of sobriety are the hardest. 

It takes time to heal your body and mind, but it takes even more time to heal your life and repair the damage done to yourself and your loved ones. The holidays on top of it all can feel like the last challenge you want to work through, but with the right mentality and preparation, you can maintain your sobriety and fully enjoy the holidays with your friends and family.

In this article, we’re going to share with you the seven most practical and effective tips for staying sober during the holidays.

How should you approach the holidays?

November through January is the most holiday-condensed period of the year. Whether you celebrate all of the major holidays or a select few, these last few months of the year can be intense, and for those in recovery from addiction, it can feel exhausting.

One of the best ways you can take care of your mental health and your sobriety during these months is to practice and establish the habit of self-awareness. Know your mental and emotional limits, both for when you’re in social settings and when you’re by yourself. Know what your biggest triggers are (whether people, situations or environments) so that you can steer clear of them and not enable unnecessary temptations. Learn to recognize when your social energy is tapped out so that you can leave while your mental resolve is still clear and strong.

There will inevitably be circumstances that are going to challenge your commitment to sobriety, but with the right tools you can make it to the New Year with your sobriety intact, and your resolve stronger than ever.

Best tips for staying sober

With a little bit of preparation, boundaries and self-care, you’ll set yourself up to have a sober, fun holiday season with your loved ones.

1. Remind yourself daily of why you’re doing this.

Sometimes your sober life will feel invigorating, but other times it will feel isolating; emotions are inconsistent, and to commit to sobriety, you have to root your strength in something stronger than feelings. 

Whatever is truly driving you, make it the background of your phone screen, stick a note on your bathroom mirror, put a picture on your desk and keep it at the forefront of your mind every day.

2. Set healthy boundaries.

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.

3. Have your props ready.

When you arrive at a party where people don’t know about your sobriety, one of the easiest ways to navigate disclosing your life story to strangers is to simply always have a drink in your hand. When you show up, just grab a non-alcoholic beverage; most people are not going to question what’s in your cup, and you’ll be able to easily avoid being offered or handed a drink.

4. Give yourself permission to slow down.

The holidays can be exhausting for everyone, and because of that, they’re often when we take care of ourselves the least. Set aside ample room to get a full night’s sleep, take time to meditate and simply breathe and give yourself permission to slow down, even if everyone else seems to be going a hundred miles an hour.

5. Have a “sober buddy” at parties.

Asking a friend or family member to spend the evening sober with you can be incredibly powerful with helping you maintain your sobriety. If you’re resistant to the idea because you don’t want to “burden” your loved one, turn the situation around. If they were in your shoes, would you want them to ask for your help? If the answer is yes, then just ask the same.

6. Host your own sober party.

If you aren’t feeling ready to be around alcohol-infused parties or have already gone to a few and have recognized you’ve reached your limit, you can always host your own sober party. Whether you want to disclose to your guests the reason for keeping the party “dry” is up to you, but all you have to do is emphasize the party will be dry and ask people to bring a food or dessert dish instead of alcohol.

Whie parties like this may not be as crazy as the ones from your past, or be chalk full of guests, just know the ones who are there support you the most. 

7. Embrace ongoing support

Graduating from rehab is no easy feat, and it’s one to be proud of, but if you’re struggling to adapt to the lack of intensive care and support, that’s okay, it’s completely normal. Transitioning from consistent professional support to fully independent sobriety is challenging, and one of the best ways you can take care of yourself during this time is to embrace ongoing support.

This might look like joining a support group (even if you haven’t relapsed), continuing or restarting therapy or counseling, getting a personal trainer, nutritionist or even life coach.

Pyramid Healthcare is here to help you every step of the way. Contact us today and we’ll figure out how we can best support you during this time.

Young depressed man sitting on floor.The Top Warning Signs and Symptoms of Depression
View on Baltimore skyline and Inner Harbor from Federal Hill at dusk, Maryland4 Risk Factors for Substance Use Disorders in Maryland