Skip to Main Content

Educational Resources

Satisfying, sober holidays

One common concern is being offered a drink by a well-meaning acquaintance.

With calendars full of social events and family gatherings during the coming weeks, the holidays can be challenging for people in recovery. Whether it’s the work party with an open bar, or a New Year’s Eve celebration offering an abundance of alcohol, triggers and temptations seem like they are everywhere.

One common concern is being offered a drink by a well-meaning acquaintance who notices someone is walking by empty-handed. This dilemma can be overcome by bringing your own non-alcoholic beverage or keeping an alternative in hand.

It’s also perfectly acceptable to say “no.” In fact, learning how to say “no” is a valuable life skill that will help anyone make the most of holiday stressors. When you recognize your schedule is getting too busy, that you’re pushing your mental or physical limits, or a particular event may be filled with too many triggers, it may be wise to politely decline an invitation or two. Also, be sure to practice ahead of time so you can confidently respond when the situation arises.

“Self-awareness can be the difference in making positive memories during the holidays,” said Rosecrance Regional President Carlene Cardosi. “Know that you are free to do things a little differently this year if that is what it takes to experience the best of the season. You will be able to live the life you want and enjoy the celebrations on your terms.”

In addition, have a plan for any situation that you might find uncomfortable. This may mean coming up with a reason not to participate in an activity, or knowing how and when to leave certain situations. This is where safety in numbers is helpful. Having a friend or two who are committed to the same sobriety goal can be a great motivator, and it provides support for potentially awkward situations.

Beyond thinking through routine holiday events, consider making this a special time to connect with the recovery community. There often are 12-Step meeting marathons on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve to attend. Plus, the Rosecrance Alumni community is busy throughout the season planning in-person and virtual fellowship events.

Last, consider a focus on giving back. Volunteer to host a sober activity for friends in recovery, or help at one of the many organizations busy making spirits bright this time of year.

Get Help Now (866) 330-8729