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Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

Our friends at The Retreat had these tips to share, and we liked them enough to borrow!


Here are twelve-time proven practices, techniques and tactics to celebrate the holiday season sanely, safely and in sobriety.

  1. Line up a few extra recovery meetings. Even if you don’t feel you need them, the person sitting across from you might be very grateful that you came.
  2. Consider doing some volunteer work for the program by either: making phone calls, taking a meeting into a hospital or detox, or just reaching out to the newcomer in a meeting.
  3. Avail yourself of the plethora of recovery activities that go on at this time of year. Sign-up to chair a marathon meeting, or pay for a newcomer’s admission to a recovery event.
  4. If you are nervous or uncomfortable about going to an event where there will be drinking – don’t go. Don’t tempt fate. You don’t have to explain yourself and “Thank you, but I’m unable to attend” is a full sentence and doesn’t require any more explanation than that.
  5. If you are going to a party where there will be drinking, make sure you bring your own non-alcoholic beverage. You don’t want to be in a situation where you hear “I’m sorry, but the only non-alcoholic drinks we have are mixes and we’re low on those”.
  6. If you are at a drinking occasion, plan an escape route. Don’t be dependent on another person for your ride back home. You may feel the need to leave and your ride is just getting started. Drive your own vehicle or be prepared to leave via taxi, Uber or Lyft.
  7. Don’t isolate – get out and enjoy the holiday lights, visit your house of worship, or take a brisk and invigorating walk.
  8. Keep a list of recovery contacts readily available and on speed dial.
  9. If you have cravings, carry some hard candy in your pocket and pop one when an urge comes over you.
  10. Enjoy the festivities of the season by partaking in tree lighting ceremonies, community concerts and the like. Many of these activities are open to the public, free-of-charge and don’t involve drinking.
  11. Try volunteering at a homeless shelter or serving a holiday meal to those less fortunate.
  12. “We tried to carry this message” – the best way to stay sober is to help another alcoholic or addict. It works when nothing else will.



Written by John D.