The holidays can be a challenging time to stay sober, especially with social pressures and nostalgic memories of drinking during past celebrations. But you’re not alone. Nearly 1 in 4 Americans are interested in drinking less or staying sober this holiday season.
A survey found 34% of people want to cut back on alcohol in 2023. Over a third have tried non-alcoholic beer, wine or spirits. And 22% of those who haven’t yet are open to it.
Staying sober during the holidays may be difficult, but it’s doable. Focus on your “why” – maybe you want to be present with loved ones, start the new year clear-headed, or maintain your health. Share your goal with supportive family and friends and ask them to avoid pressuring you to drink.
Recognize Your Relapse Triggers
The holidays can be tough when you’re trying to stay sober. There are triggers everywhere that can tempt you to relapse. For many, being around family can bring up old habits and dynamics that drive you to drink.
Make a plan ahead of time for how you’ll handle tricky relatives or tense moments. Boredom and stress are other common triggers. Try doing light exercise, reading a book, playing with pets, or calling a friend during downtime.
Practice self-care and be gentle with yourself. The holidays will be over before you know it. Focus on the meaningful moments, connect with loved ones, start new traditions, and take things one day at a time.
Don’t Be Afraid To Talk About Your Recovery
The holidays can be an anxious time for those in recovery. Family gatherings often center around alcohol, and old triggers may surface. The key is to not isolate yourself. Talk to people who support your sobriety and will understand if you feel tempted or uncomfortable.
- Speak up if you feel triggered. Let close family and friends know how they can support you. Say something like, “I’m feeling anxious about the alcohol here. Can we do an activity not focused on drinking?”
- Call your sponsor or a sober friend. Hearing a familiar, supportive voice can help relieve stress and cravings.
- Attend extra recovery meetings during the holidays. Many groups hold special events and potlucks. Connecting with your sober community will boost your motivation and commitment.
Connect With Your Support Network
During the holidays, it can be challenging to stay committed to your sobriety with so many social events revolving around alcohol. Connecting with your support network is key.
Reach out to your sponsor or accountability partners and let them know your plan to stay sober during this tricky time. Ask them to check in on you regularly for support and encouragement. Consider scheduling an extra meeting or two each week to help you stay focused.
Call on sober friends and family members and ask if they want to do an alcohol-free activity together, like going out for coffee, seeing a movie, or just talking on the phone. Their companionship can help combat feelings of isolation or nostalgia for past holidays when drinking was part of the ritual.
Check with local support groups to find additional holiday meetings or events. Many have round-the-clock phone support, online chats, or sponsor matching this season. Don’t hesitate to use every resource available to you.
Be Prepared to Politely Say No to Alcohol
Have a plan in place for turning down alcohol ahead of time. Come up with a simple explanation you feel comfortable sharing, such as “I’m not drinking today.” You don’t owe anyone an explanation, but having a standard response can make it easier to stay resolute. Practice it ahead of time if you think it will help.
Bring a friend for support. Ask a trusted friend or family member to be your sober buddy at events where alcohol will be present. Having a strong support system will make it much easier to abstain. Let them know your plan to stay sober, and ask them to check in on you throughout the event.
Stay busy with your hands. Keep a non-alcoholic drink like sparkling water with lime, coffee, or tea. This gives you something to sip on and makes it less likely someone will offer you an alcoholic drink. You can also try bringing a plate of appetizers to share or helping out the host to keep your hands and mind occupied.
If You Need Help Holding On, Reach Out To Us Today
The holidays can be an especially difficult time to stay committed to your sobriety. Many temptations and triggers can threaten your recovery. At Louisville Recovery Centers, we understand how hard it can be and are here to help.
Don’t try to get through it alone. Call us anytime at (502) 334-1140 for help. Our caring staff is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We offer compassionate support and guidance to help you stay strong in your sobriety.
The holidays will be over before you know it. Stay focused on your sobriety one day at a time. You can get through this; we’re here to help however we can. Our team believes in you and your ability to maintain your recovery, even during difficult times. You’ve got this! Call us anytime.