Maintaining Sobriety During the Holiday Season

When the holiday season starts, it brings many opportunities for parties and family gatherings. For many people, this means enjoying an alcoholic drink or three without a problem, but for those who are maintaining their sobriety, it can be tricky. Living a sober life doesn’t mean you have to avoid every get-together during the holidays. Still, it’s essential to have a few tricks up your sleeve to help prevent temptations and lower your stress level.

Partner Up With a Sober Buddy

Ask around to see if anyone else attending a holiday occasion is also in recovery or just doesn’t drink alcohol. Make a point to check in with them during the event. Sometimes focusing your attention on a conversation with someone enjoying a soda or other non-alcoholic drink allows you to enjoy yourself without temptation. It can also help have a back-up if a fellow guest keeps trying to tempt you both with an insistence to “just have one.” A united front can force someone who does not have your best interest at heart to back off. 

Volunteer to Make a Non-Alcoholic Drink Option

Plenty of party-goers enjoy something not served from the bar, so why not be the one to provide it? Ask the host or hostess if you can make a batch of an old family favorite punch or brew a coffee drink that will please a crowd. Volunteering to serve the drink for a portion of the party and discussing the recipe will help keep you focused. If the party has many children attending, they will flock to a special treat like a holiday punch. If providing a drink for everyone isn’t an option, bring your own beverage, like flavored water or juice, to ensure you will have something you enjoy.

Avoid Toxic Events

If you know a get-together is likely to be highly focused on alcohol and guests getting inebriated, exercise your right to say no. Remember, you have the right to pick and choose which events you wish to attend. It is not rude to decline an invitation. Consider the risk factor for each invitation you get and R.S.V.P. according to what is in the best interest of your sobriety. 

If you receive pushback from a host or someone planning to attend the event when you decline the invitation, gently explain your reasoning. Let them know that while you are sure the party will be enjoyable, your focus is on sobriety this season. Tell them that you must regrettably decline the invitation in the interest of not being exposed to a lot of temptation. Those who care about you and understand what your goals are will be supportive of your decisions. 

Plan Your Own Event

Not every holiday occasion has to focus on food or drink. Check around for charitable groups that need seasonal help and put together a list of people you know who might want to help out. Volunteers are often required for things like helping out at a party at a children’s shelter, visiting residents at a nursing home, and preparing meals for shut-ins and the homeless. Putting your focus on helping others is often a great way to help yourself.

Outdoor events can be a way to acknowledge the holiday season without putting the spotlight on indulging in food or alcohol. Investigate local walk-a-thons or virtual marathons that get you outside and help contribute money to worthy causes. You can also round up some of the kids in your life and take them on a zoo trip or visit the local holiday lights festival. 

Double Down on Support

If this is your first holiday season as a sober person or if you know that the holidays are often difficult for you, ask your treatment professional about adding extra sessions. Checking in before a trigger event can help ease your anxiety and increase your ability to deal with it. You can also schedule an appointment for after the event is over to process your feelings.

If you attend 12-step or other similar groups, consider going to more meetings than usual to shore up your confidence and ability to get through the holidays. Check the schedule for meetings and make a note of times and locations so you will have an easy reference if you suddenly find yourself in need of group support. If you have a sobriety mentor, talk to them to discuss a game plan for dealing with temptations. Going into any holiday event armed with concrete strategies for handling them will better prepare you for success and decrease your anxiety level.


The holiday season brings a lot of parties and get-togethers that often feature alcohol, which makes it difficult for those in recovery to avoid temptation. It’s essential to have concrete plans for dealing with holiday events so that you stay healthy and sober. Valiant Living is a Denver area treatment facility that offers multiple options to help a person get sober and maintain their sobriety all year round. We offer treatment for mental health issues and substance addictions in a small men-only setting. If you need help with substance abuse, we can help with detox, recovery housing, intensive outpatient services, partial hospitalization, transitional services, sober living, and relapse prevention. We offer private and semi-private rooms, allowing every individual the advantage of working on themselves while in a group community. Call us now to find out how we can help you achieve sobriety for the holidays and the rest of your life! (303) 952-5035