Staying Sober During Holiday Parties


Avoiding the Temptation that the Holidays Bring

For most people, the holidays are a time of fun and cheer but staying sober during holiday parties is an important part of recovery.

With many family gatherings and work parties to attend, many people spend the last two months of the year eating and drinking.

They consume as much as they can, regardless of the consequences.

But for those in recovery, the holidays can be a difficult time.

No matter where you go, there seems to be someone having a drink right next to you.

This exposure can make avoiding temptation extremely difficult, no matter how long you have been sober.

To help you stay on track with your recovery, we have put together some tips on staying sober at holiday parties.

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Plan Ahead

The best way to help you stay sober at a holiday party is to plan.

If you prepare for whatever the night might throw at you, you have a better chance of saying no to alcohol.

Go to a meeting or talk with your sponsor before the party to reaffirm your decision to live a sober life.

Make sure that you drive yourself so that you can leave whenever you need to.

You can also enlist a friend to be your sober buddy at the party for support.

That way, you will always have a sober friend for accountability, who is also staying sober during holiday parties.

Another option is to call your sponsor when you get home to have someone to talk to.

No matter what your plan is going into the party, make sure you have a plan to get out.

Know that you can leave whenever you want or need to, and know what your limits are.

If you are feeling stressed out, it is probably time to head home.

Staying Sober at Holiday Parties Emerald Isle Photo of food set on a table while in  the background slightly blurred out people stand around several high top tables drinking and talking in a white ballroom.


Remember to H.A.L.T

If you did not learn about H.A.L.T. in your recovery center, now is a good time to use this technique. It serves as a reminder of how you can be sure you are meeting your needs to avoid temptation. H.A.L.T. is an acronym for the feelings that most commonly contribute to a relapse. These feelings include:

  • Hungry

Make sure that you are regularly eating and are not going too long between meals. Letting yourself get too hungry can make your blood sugar drop, which can then affect your mood.

  • Angry, Irritable, or Restless

Make sure to manage your stress levels by exercising, getting outside, or meditating. These activities release endorphins, which help boost your mood and keep you feeling good.

  •  Lonely

The holidays can be lonely, especially if you do not live close to your friends or family. Write yourself a list of the people who love and support you. Anytime you are feeling down, or tempted to drink, give one of them a call. Sometimes just hearing a friendly voice is enough to help you stay sober.

  •  Tired

The holidays tend to be when people get less sleep in favor of hanging out and going shopping. Make sure you get the amount of sleep you need to avoid being tired.

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Have Your Props Ready

One way to avoid having everyone ask you if you need a drink is to always have one in your hand. Whether it is a soda or sparkling water, make sure you have something to sip on. People are unlikely to notice what you are drinking, and it is less likely that someone will offer you a drink.

This technique is especially helpful in situations where the other people at the party do not know about your sobriety. You should always plan what you will say if someone does offer you a drink because it might happen.

It is up to you whether you are comfortable with saying that you are in recovery. If you are not, think of something you can say to turn the drink down politely. Often it is enough to say that you are cutting back or have decided to give it up for the holidays. You can also say you have a health issue that prevents you from drinking alcohol.


Avoid Known Triggers

It can be hard staying sober during holiday parties, but sometimes it is not worth the risk. A trigger might be a combative relative or an office party that is out of hand. It is unrealistic to expect that these things will not get to you or you can manage them.

If you know there are triggers at the event, politely decline or make a brief appearance early in the evening. This way, you are not putting yourself in a position that might lead to a relapse.

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Focus on People, Not Drinking

Not every holiday party has to be about drinking. Instead, try and steer parties so that they focus on your relationships. Gatherings are ways to strengthen your relationships or opportunities to reconnect with old friends you have not seen in a while. Go into each party with the expectation of enjoying spending time with people that you love and value.

Staying Sober at Holiday Parties Emerald Isle Group of people staying sober at a holiday party by dancing and not drinking.


Find New Ways to Celebrate

Now that you are in recovery, your life is probably much different than it used to be. Finding new ways to celebrate the holidays can be a great way to embrace your new path in life. Plan activities around things that do not involve drinking, like going ice skating, baking holiday treats, or watching movies.

You may also consider finding a way to help others during this time of year. Serve meals at a homeless shelter, spend time with elderly relatives or neighbors, or help at the local animal shelter. There are hundreds of ways that you can give back to your community. Volunteering can boost your self-esteem, get your mind off things that are causing you stress, and improve your well-being in recovery.

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Do Not Let Holiday Parties Derail Your Sobriety

While it might seem like a nearly impossible thing to do, you can stay sober through the holidays if you plan accordingly.

Make sure you are prepared to handle situations where there will be alcohol.

If you do not think that you can turn down a drink, find other ways to celebrate with your loved ones.

If you do end up suffering from a relapse this holiday season, do not let it derail your recovery process.

At Emerald Isle Health & Recovery, we pride ourselves on our unique approach to individualized, evidence-based treatment.

Our comprehensive clinical and medical programs help our clients achieve long-term, sustainable recoveries.

Our state-of-the-art facility is in a private location to ensure clients can get away from stress or triggers.

We focus on ensuring that our clients feel safe and comfortable to approach their recovery in the most positive way.

We realize that many of our clients wonder about how they are going to pay for their treatment.

That is why we accept most major insurances through our free insurance verification.

Give us a call, and one of our addiction specialists can verify whether your insurance will cover your detox and rehab.

We will also communicate with your insurance provider to ensure that you receive every benefit you are entitled to.

You can complete a simple form right from our website or call us directly.

Recovery is not always a straight path, and relapses do happen.

But that does not mean you have to let go of the positive progress you have made.

Let Emerald Isle’s team of dedicated addiction specialists help you get back on the path to sobriety.