How to Have Fun While Staying Sober On Holidays

Flag and sparkler during holiday celebration

Jana van der Linde June 8, 2020

Holidays like Memorial Day intertwine with a partying-hard drinking culture. It can also bring about difficult emotions or memories for people in recovery. People battling addiction are more vulnerable to relapse during holidays and especially those in early recovery find it hard to stay sober. But, holiday festivities can be sober and fun at the same time!

We rounded up some practical sober holiday tips and a few alternative celebration suggestions to help you enjoy continued sobriety — and the holidays. 

Practical Tips For Sober Holidays

Make staying sober your top priority. If attending a holiday celebration can compromise your recovery, it’s better to opt-out. 

Sobriety takes priority.

This might mean popping in at a party and staying only a few minutes, avoiding a specific family member at a family do, or not going to a certain event at all. Sobriety takes priority. 

Here are some tips to help you prioritize sobriety at a holiday party.

Make Up Your Mind 

Be intentional about maintaining your sobriety. Make the decision not to drink before you go to a family gathering or social event. It’s useful to attend a support meeting or check-in with someone in your support network on the day of a holiday event. A strong and decisive mindset is hugely helpful when it comes to navigating a sober holiday. 

Plan a Response 

If you’re recently sober and someone offers you a drink they’re likely to ask why you’re declining – prepare a response you’re comfortable sharing. This can be as brief or as detailed as you see fit. Vegans decline a dish with “I’m vegan,” and it’s perfectly acceptable. To simply state “I don’t drink” is truly no different. 

Get a Prop

If you’re at a party where people are drinking, get yourself a non-alcoholic beverage as soon as you arrive. People are less likely to offer you a drink if you’ve got one in your hand. Similarly, having a “mocktail” might just do the trick if you’re feeling left out.

Have an Escape Route

Whenever you can, BYOC (Bring Your Own Car). Plan how you can leave, where you can go, or who you can call if you feel a strong urge to drink or use. Have an escape plan in place. You need a plan place if you need to get out of a situation that endangers your recovery. 

Buddy-Up

Don’t go it alone! If you can, take a sober buddy along to an event to support you in resisting relapse triggers. 

Couple enjoying food at a cookout

Staying Sober on the Holidays While Traveling 

Traveling can be stressful and often disrupts healthy recovery routines. Keep in touch with your support system and make sure you have ways to communicate on a holiday or over a long weekend. Ask someone supportive of your sobriety to be on standby, especially if you’re traveling and can’t access your support network as you normally would.  

If you’re away from home, find a support meeting near your destination. Whether a holiday takes you on a trip down memory lane or requires travel, both are relapse triggers to be aware of. 

Alternative Ways To Celebrate Holidays in Recovery

Why not celebrate the holiday in a different way?

Eat, Meet, Rest and Repeat

Celebrate the holiday with serious self-care. A generous helping of eating well, attending recovery meetings, and taking time to rest, is a completely valid and acceptable way for a person in recovery to spend a long weekend. Looking after your mind and your body goes a long way in helping you resist relapse triggers a holiday can bring.

Volunteer

More often than not, our time is better spent serving others rather than being served. Consider celebrating holidays by volunteering your time and effort to a charity. Or start a new family tradition of doing a good deed for those in need. Spreading kindness is an enormously uplifting experience and helps maintain a healthy sense of gratitude. And it’s a great way to make a holiday special without risking your sobriety. 

Silicon Beach Rehab – Helping You Sustain Your Sobriety 

At Silicon Beach Treatment Center we can help you beat addiction. Our Los Angeles rehab facility offers a variety of outpatient addiction programs, focused on helping clients reach and sustain sobriety. Take the first step to recovery and speak to us today.

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