How To Remain Alcohol-Free During The Holidays

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on December 20, 2022

Many people celebrate Christmas and welcome the new year by attending parties with family, friends, or coworkers, where alcohol is often served to party-goers. 

However, people with an alcohol use disorder, characterized by a frequent inability to control their drinking, may wish to enjoy an alcohol-free holiday season. 

Alcohol served at parties and other social gatherings, the stress of buying gifts, and memories of past holidays can serve as triggers, which may lead to cravings and relapse. 

There are ways to remain alcohol-free and have fun during the holidays. Read on to get tips for maintaining sobriety into the new year. 

Tips To Stay Sober During The Holidays

The holidays can bring up many emotions for people recovering from alcohol abuse. Addiction and its repercussions may have separated some from their families during this time of year. 

People who have engaged in binge drinking during past New Year’s Eves may feel uncomfortable at parties. Some isolate themselves for fear of drinking. 

But sobriety doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t attend parties. Many alcohol-free people enjoy holiday gatherings without a drink. 

Below are some ways you can stay sober during the holidays.

Plan Ahead 

Spending time with family and friends can be stressful. This can be triggering, creating anxiety. Strategizing a plan beforehand can help you feel more prepared. 

Inviting a fellow sober person to attend a party or dinner with you may make you feel less alone around others who are drinking. 

You can also stick to a time to leave, preferably when the drinking heightens. If people ask why you’re leaving, you can say you have a morning commitment. 

Inquire About Alcohol At The Party

Some parties are more centered on alcohol consumption than others. If you’re unsure who will be there and what will be offered, feel free to ask the host beforehand. 

Obtaining a clearer picture of a gathering’s environment may help you decide if you should bring beverages, invite a sober or supportive friend, or skip out on the event. 

Get Creative With Non-Alcoholic Drinks 

There are plenty of mocktails you can enjoy during the holiday season. Many well-known cocktails are still delicious without any alcohol. 

Taking the time to make holiday-themed mocktails helps you stay sober at a party, allows others to enjoy your barista skills, and gets you into the festive spirit. 

Make Festive Snacks

Making sweets or snacks is another way to get into the holiday cheer. Cookies, muffins, and dips are great additions to any party. Sweets can also curb alcohol cravings. 

Use Your Support System

Staying alcohol-free is easier when done with others. People in an aftercare service such as a 12-step group or sober living home may have built a support system. 

A sponsor, fellow sober person, or supportive friend may give you insight into how to deal with the holidays alcohol-free and with limited stress. 

Some of these people have spent many holidays sober. They can remind you of how far you’ve come and what to be grateful for, and maybe even accompany you to an event. 

Your support system can also include a trusted therapist, counselor, or mental health professional. These individuals may help you develop coping skills for handling stress. 

Practice Self-Care

Gift-buying, outfit-shopping, and trying to finish the year on a positive note can create stress. Oftentimes, people in recovery have developed routines that keep them focused on recovery. 

However, the busy holidays can throw someone off their normal course. Maintaining mental health may be forgotten about when handling holiday tasks. 

When attending support meetings, meditating, exercising, and speaking with sober people are abandoned, feelings of unease may arise, which can lead to high-stress levels and cravings to drink. 

Make some time during the holidays to keep up with your self-care routine. If needed, spend some time alone enjoying something you love doing. 

Remember Your Progress

It’s easy to forget how far you’ve come in your sobriety. And if you’re in early sobriety, you may feel you have nothing to celebrate. 

However, any time spent sober for people with a substance use disorder is applaudable. Some couldn’t go days without a drink, so go ahead and give yourself some praise. 

Attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting can expose you to others who understand how special any length of sobriety is. You can receive applause while helping others stay sober. 

Be A Friend To Yourself

While it doesn’t have to be, relapse is part of many people’s recovery. Understanding this and cutting yourself some slack if you do slip up can help you get back to recovery. 

This understanding starts with self-love. Being a friend to yourself may seem hard for people with substance abuse issues, but it’s often what helps them maintain recovery. 

It can also keep you committed to sobriety after a relapse. Drinking isn’t a reflection of your character. It’s part of a health disorder that requires addiction treatment

Addiction Treatment In Ohio 

Alcohol poisoning during the holidays can be a sign of alcohol use disorder. 

At Ohio Recovery Center, we use evidence-based addiction treatment to help people overcome alcohol withdrawal, gain sobriety, and learn how to live a drug-free life.  

Reach out to a recovery specialist today to learn more about our facility.

  1. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism – The Truth About Holiday Spirits
  2. Obama White House – Celebrating The Holidays With Recovering Family Members And Friends
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – National Recovery Month 2022

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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