Five Tips to Stay Sober During the Holidays

Three male-female couples sit around a festive holiday table. They share a smile and hold sparklers. White holiday lights are shown in the background.

December is an especially challenging time for those in active recovery, but staying sober through the holidays is possible and may even be fun with the right strategy. Miramar Recovery Center is sharing tips to stay sober during the holidays to help you plan ahead, set boundaries, and make sobriety your top priority.

If your upcoming family visit or vacation feels overwhelming, focus on 24 hours at a time. Make a plan for the day, write it down, and stick to it. Then, take a few moments to do your daily prayers or mindfulness to rebalance yourself before you start your day.

Five tips to stay sober during the holidays

The holidays are almost here, and while it’s exciting for some, it triggers feelings of sadness, self-reflection, stress, anxiety, and loneliness for many others. Staying sober through the holidays is easier when you have a game plan, so here are five strategies that will help you stay sober:

  1. Reclaim your time
    When visiting friends or family, it’s important to control your destiny. Take a friend, loved one, mentor, or sponsor to events who’s dedicated to helping you abstain from drinking. Drive yourself to the party so you can leave when you want. Arrive early and leave early to avoid unnecessary temptation.
  2. Take care of yourself
    Practice self-care throughout the holidays to support your mental, physical, and emotional health. Try mediation or yoga, exercise daily, and make healthy food choices. Never let yourself get too hungry, too angry, too tired, or too lonely. Eat well, stay hydrated, and recognize possible triggers before they get out of control. These tactics will help you feel stronger and allow you to celebrate sober with confidence.
  3. Go to meetings
    Find and attend local AA meetings or recovery groups to help you stay on track.  If in-person meetings are on hold, opt-in to daily video group meetings or phone calls with others in recovery. Stay connected to your sponsor and reach out for help whenever you need it. You have resources ready and willing to help you.
  4. Know your social limits
    The holidays are a great time to catch up with extended family, but it’s important to recognize behaviors that negatively affect your emotions (especially when spending time with someone with whom you have a strained relationship). Surround yourself with supportive people who are dedicated to helping you stay clean and sober. Also, get good at saying no and have a response ready when anyone pressures you to drink. Try saying, “No thanks, I’m trying to get healthy.” It makes your point and doesn’t invite further conversation.
  5. Make sobriety your top priority
    Always remember that holiday parties are optional. If you don’t think it’s good for your recovery (or health), it’s okay to politely decline the invite and make a lunch or coffee date with the host for another day instead.

Staying clean and sober is possible during the holiday season, and it can even be fun. This year, focus on the people and activities that strengthen your path toward recovery. If you need help with alcohol abuse treatment, contact the skilled clinical team at Miramar Recovery Center at 949-691-5036. You can do this. We can help.

We offer comprehensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services including a medically-assisted detox, medicinal maintenance, individual and group therapy, and an evidence-based non-12-step addiction program as well as holistic wellness programs like massage, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and other sober activities.


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