Staying sober is challenging enough without the added stress of the holidays. It has become socially acceptable to drink for nearly every occasion or celebration. The winter holiday season and round- the-corner New Year's Eve night is especially challenging. Whether it's drugs or alcohol that was a problem the holiday season can be gone through clean and sober.

To stay sober through the holidays doesn't have to be just for anyone who has had a problem with alcohol. There are health and safety benefits to putting down the bottle around Christmas and New Year's because drinking and driving is dangerous and deadly. A driving under the influence commercial reminds people that any alcohol increases your blood alcohol limit and can make the innocent glass of wine into a crime if you get behind the wheel.

Things You Will Need

non-alcoholic drinks
recipes for mocktails and non-alcoholic drinks

Step 1

Accept party invitations with caution. For some, holiday parties come with the job. But, this doesn't mean you have to accept. A lot of people think that declining Christmas party invites will look bad, but realistically there were probably times when your drinking and use of substances looked pretty bad too. At the end of the day the decisions that you make need to be focused around your safety. Some people stop drinking and have no problems or temptation being around it, but for others it is much harder. No matter where you are along this spectrum setting boundaries about the places you can go is important.

If you are supporting someone who has stopped drinking or is in recovery don't push him or her into alcohol related environments. It's true that the alcoholic or addict is the person who stopped but the ripple stretches farther. Being sober for your friends who are sober is a compassionate gift.

Step 2

Have non-alcoholic drinks on hand. Sometimes the temptation to drink is about fitting in. Who wants to be the person standing with an empty hand. Keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hand so no one is tempted to fill it with a glass of something else. Quitting smoking is often hard because the hand to mouth is missing. Although non-alcoholic drinks don't provide the buzz, the buzz is ultimately not worth whatever consequences got your into recovery in the first place. Keep them close enough to remember to say no. It is important simply to find other things that taste good or are fulfilling. Brink your own drinks to a party so you are not left without something to drink. Splurge on your favorite non-alcoholic drinks, try sparkling cider, and always remember that the best gift to yourself during the holidays is keeping your sobriety or clean time.

Step 3

Go to more support group meetings. Guaranteed, you are not the only recovering alcoholic or addict that will struggle with the holiday season. It is hard for many to stay sober through the holidays. If you don't like 12 step meetings like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous then spend more time with close friends who are supportive of your healthy choices.

If you are sober or clean but have never tried going to meetings, experiment. There are all different kinds of support groups for people who are trying to stay sober through the holidays and any other time. You can also try using online support group meetings.

For those who are staying clean through the holidays, abstaining for drugs, then the same boundaries apply to you. If your family is not a safe place to be for your recovery then go where it is safe. At the end of the day it doesn't matter if they understand, it matters that you are still clean. Other recovering addicts understand that with ever fiber of the being, so it's okay if your family doesn't get it. If you need to learn more about staying clean after meth there is info on that, too. Crystal meth can be especially hard, so keep good support around you.

Step 4

Volunteer! Depending on how far down you went during your drinking or addiction one key piece to stay sober especially during the holidays is to volunteer with others. Go to a mission or help organize a gift giving to a family who is going to be hurting this holiday season. Do something that helps you get out of your own situation and helps someone else.

Step 5

Discover your confidence and beauty. This will likely be the challenge in recovery. As hokey as it sounds a huge part of abstaining from alcohol and other drugs is finding reasons to live healthy and rebuild or continue to build your life.

Step 6

Make sure to use support during the holidays. Even people who have not experienced problems with alcohol can have a tendency to drink too much during the holidays. It is a very stressful time for many people. While it'd be great if everything was 'tis the season and happy that's just not reality. Keep an eye on friends needing rides home from parties and offer your support to those who need it.

Tips & Warnings

It can be very hard to stay sober through the holidays but it's possible to accomplish with a plan and support.

No matter how many years it's been since your 1st sober holiday you should congratulate yourself for still wanting to stay sober through this holiday season.

**Do NOT drink and drive if you do decide to drink during the holidays.