3 Ways to Enjoy a Sober Holiday Season
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: December 23, 2020

In less than a month, families will be gathering all over the United States to celebrate Christmas and then New Year’s Day. If you or someone in your family struggles with alcohol use disorder, as millions of American adults do, the holiday season can be especially challenging. Many families include alcohol in their festivities, with everything from Aunt Betty’s favorite eggnog recipe to a champagne toast on New Year’s Eve. These seemingly innocuous activities can be trouble for a newly sober or even a long-time person in recovery. Unfortunately, these situations can sometimes seem impossible to avoid. However, you don’t have to lock yourself in your house or apartment until the holidays are over. There are plenty of ways to enjoy a sober holiday season.  

Ways to Enjoy a Sober Holiday Season

1. Reduce Your Holiday Stress

Stress is a well-known trigger that can make having a sober holiday season a challenge, and few times of the year are as stressful as the days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. There are presents to buy (and find the money to pay for), relatives to get along with, decorations to put up and take down, gifts to wrap, cookies to bake, and holiday cards or messages to send. It’s tough finding the time, money, and energy for all of that. One good way to reduce the stress of the holidays is to start early and have a written plan of attack that you can refer to during the holidays. Prioritize your holiday activities, so if you can, do the most important things first. Set aside a few minutes every day to work on your holiday plans. Not only will this reduce the stress that comes from leaving everything until the last minute, but it will make the season a lot more enjoyable.

2. Have a Back-Up Plan

Even the best holiday plans can go awry, such as the so-called sober party with a “spiked” punch bowl or a family gathering with your uncle Bob passing you his flask under the dining room table. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment and let these situations cause a setback in your plans for a sober holiday season. You can avoid these traps by having an alternate plan in mind before you step out of your front door. This way, if the party takes a wrong turn, you can execute your other plan, such as visiting your sober friend or sponsor, taking in an exhibit you’ve been wanting to see at the local art gallery, or even chipping away at your holiday shopping list.

3. Give Back to Your Community

One of the best ways to enjoy a sober holiday season is to plan activities that help other people in your community. Volunteering is an excellent way to get your mind off of yourself while helping to make sure that those less fortunate than you can enjoy the holidays. Most areas have ample volunteer opportunities. These can include serving food at a food pantry on Thanksgiving or Christmas, helping to make up food baskets at your local church, or reading to residents without family members at a local nursing home. The possibilities are almost endless, and you don’t have to limit yourself to just one.

Reach Out to Lakeview Health to Learn More

The holidays don’t have to mean a choice between enjoying the season or having a drink. To learn more about how you can enjoy a sober holiday season and get your life back on track without alcohol, either complete our secure online form. We want to help you live a happier, healthier life.