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3 Helpful Tips for Navigating the Holiday Season Sober

It’s that time of year again! If you’re in the midwest, like myself, you’re avoiding outdoor activities as much as possible. Even though it may be cold, it is also the time of year where we can celebrate, love, laugh, and enjoy ourselves. If this is your first holiday season sober, you might be a bit apprehensive about how to navigate holiday parties, family get-togethers, and other festive activities where people may be drinking. Here are three useful tips for staying sober so that you can enjoy holiday activities:

#1 - Have a plan, have a plan, have a plan!

I say this with EXTREME importance - create a strategy for your holiday parties and get-togethers BEFOREHAND so that you are set up for SUCCESS! Some helpful actions to include in your plans are:

  • Bringing a trusted friend/family member to events to keep you supported

  • Deciding beforehand what time-frame you want to leave during

  • Having a mocktail/NA beverage plan - soda water, non-alcoholic eggnog, ginger beer, fruit punch are all some great options

  • Allowing yourself treats/deserts in replace of alcohol

  • Having an excuse to leave if you are feeling triggered/sad and being aware of your emotions while at an event

#2 - Keep yourself busy during the holiday season

It is important that you stay occupied (but not in a way that entirely distracts you from yourself/your feelings) so that you can stay fulfilled and on track. Whether this means going to a work-out class, painting class, trying a new recipe, going to the gym, reading a book, or playing games with family, getting creative with your holiday hobbies will not only keep your mind focused on other things, but can lead to fun and memorable experiences that you can carry with you.

#3 - Stay mindful of your emotions

Even though the holidays can be wonderful and joyous, they can also bring about feelings of sadness or loneliness for many. It’s imperative to not only focus on making plans to stay sober, but also making plans to care of your mental health. An important element to factor in during this time of year is seasonal depression, which many of us are currently experiencing. Personally, I get hit with feelings of gloom as lack of sunlight and shortened days become routine. Another thing to be aware of is that there may be times where you confuse cravings for alcohol with underlying feelings of depression brought about by the season. Being mindful of this and keeping track of your moods through journaling, meditating, and self-awareness will help you to stay ahead of the game. As always, if you are feeling that your day-to-day symptoms of depression/anxiety/etc. are not improving or getting worse, please reach out for help from professionals, family, and friends.

Having a plan will not only help you to stay sober during the holidays, but will also help you to go into this time of year confidently so that you can truly enjoy it. If this is your first holiday season sober, this is a special opportunity for you to create new memories, traditions, and more that addiction held you back from in the past. I am sending all the love to you this time of year. Remember that you CAN do this, you've got this, and you're amazing!🤍


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