How to Stay Sober During the Holidays

The holidays are a great time for many reasons — getting to spend time with family, enjoying delicious food and having the chance to take a break from the often-stressful work life. At the same time, the holidays can be a difficult time for those who are sober, as drinks tend to be a large part of the celebratory occasions. Staying sober while others enjoy drinking champagne or alcoholic eggnog might seem like a hard task. Fortunately, there are many ways to avoid alcohol and still have fun during the holiday season:

1) Plan in Advance

A popular term used when talking about sobriety is the acronym “HALT.” This term stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Any of these four emotions and physical sensations can often be a big trigger for sober individuals. During holiday celebrations, it’s important to remain aware of your feelings throughout the evening and take the right steps if you feel yourself experiencing any of the HALT triggers. To plan ahead for success, drive your own vehicle to a holiday party, so you can leave when you want or need to. If you don’t have a car or simply want to take extra steps, see if you can bring a friend who is also sober so you can check in with each other throughout the evening. Having someone who understands your sober journey will be extremely beneficial during the holidays.

2) Avoid Unhealthy Habits

Delicious food is often a given at any holiday party. While food itself is necessary for everyone, the types of food you choose can have a huge effect on your sobriety journey. When an individual uses drugs or alcohol, their nutrition is affected largely in a variety of ways; for example, they consume less food than sober people, choose food that lacks proper nutrients and lose energy and nutrients through vomiting or other illnesses. After becoming sober, it’s extremely important to maintain a healthy diet consisting of balanced meals, food with beneficial nutrients and food from various food groups. Eating unhealthy food can act as another trigger for sober people or have sober people relapse into another pattern of developing bad habits. This doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a slice of cake, but make sure that you are watching your intake and making healthy choices as well. Additionally, watch out for food that may have alcohol in its ingredients.

3) Know That Help is Always Available

Another common feeling that comes with sobriety is feeling like you are alone. This is especially common when you are surrounded by people who are not sober or who do not make an effort to support your sobriety, which can be quite frequent at family get-togethers. If you are met with lots of challenging questions like “Why can’t you have fun?” or “Why can’t you just have one drink?” you may feel alienated and even feel the desire to give in to please others. In these moments, you should walk away from this unhelpful environment and reach out for help. These are numerous national hotline numbers that have individuals available to talk through your feelings with you, as well as international hotlines. Even better, before heading out for a holiday celebration, scope out the nearby area for sobriety meetings in case you want to have an in-person meeting with someone.

Staying sober during the holidays is not always easy, but it is possible with the right planning, avoidance of bad habits and knowledge that help is always available if needed. Holidays are meant to be fun and exciting for everyone, sober and non-sober alike.