12 Tips for Celebrating Sober

I know we’re not doing anything too terribly original here, but this comes up a lot in our meetings.. So here’s a list of 12 tips for celebrating sober this holiday season!

1. Remember that “No” is a complete sentence
Nobody can make you drink! If someone offers, politely decline. If they push, do so less politely. If they won’t give up, walk away. If they respect you they should respect your commitment to your recovery.
2. Be honest, open, and willing
Our friends and families (some of them at least) are probably well aware that we have a drinking problem. If not, and if you’re comfortable doing so, be clear with them about your reasons for staying sober. They will probably support your efforts!
3. Have a non-alcoholic drink in your hand
People are less likely to offer you a drink if you already have one. Have a club soda. A Red Bull. Coffee. LaCroix. Non-alcoholic eggnog. There are plenty of alcohol-free beverages and mocktails out there that look like alcoholic drinks if you think you need that sort of camouflage.
4. Stay well fed
This should be easy during the holidays! I mean, I’m thinking about ham right now. Remember HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) – these things can weaken our resolve. A drink is a lot less appealing when we’re stuffed. This is probably not a healthy option but it works.
5. Have a sober buddy
It always helps to have someone watching your back. Find a friend or family member who also won’t be drinking and work as a team. Look out for one another, bail each other out of difficult conversations.
6. Reach out to the fellowship
Even if you can’t make it to your usual meeting, there will be always plenty of meetings here! Don’t hesitate to reach out to the fellowship for support. You won’t be the only alcoholic looking for help, so you’ll be in good company. You don’t have to struggle alone. As they say, we do together..
7. Take time to focus on your recovery
We drank or used every day, so we need to work on our recovery every day, even on holidays. Especially then, if we’re prone to believing they’re a viable excuse to put a pause on our sobriety. Call your sponsor. Get to a meeting. If you can’t get to a meeting, take time to read some of the literature, pray, meditate.. Whatever it takes!
8. Stay positive
Instead of getting worked up about not being able to drink, make an effort to appreciate the food, the family, the festivities, the football (YMMV if you’re a Jets fan). Focus on the things you enjoy about the holidays, not the things you’re trying to avoid. Christmas was awesome as a kid, and we didn’t need a drink back then to enjoy it.
9. Make time for exercise
Physical activity can help us get through cravings. It clears the mind and it helps us focus on the present. It burns off anxiety and nervous energy. It’s a lot easier to sleep when you’re exhausted, too. As a bonus, this will burn off some of that ham I’m still thinking about..
10. Play the tape forward
Remind yourself of how things will end if you drink or use. It’s never just one, and it always ends badly! We cannot drink like other people do, even on Christmas. You’ll wake up tomorrow with all of your old problems, maybe a few new ones, and a hangover to boot. We know this if we’re honest with ourselves.
11. Have an escape plan
If you need to get away from the festivities, have a plan to do so. Go for a walk. Find some privacy and meditate. Go home if necessary. Be prepared to do whatever it takes to maintain your sobriety, even if that means leaving.
12. One day at a time
We don’t have to commit to staying sober forever, we just have to get through the day! Sometimes that means taking things an hour or a minute at a time. Go to bed early if you have to. Worry about tomorrow tomorrow.

Do you have any tips and tricks for staying sober on holidays that we missed? Please leave a comment below!

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