How to Stay Sober at the Holiday Party

The holiday season is upon us, and for people in recovery, this can be a complicated time. But while holiday events have their challenges, they can also be joyful and fulfilling.

Whether you’re visiting family or attending a work holiday event, here’s some advice that will help you make it home safe and sober.

Bring Non-Alcoholic Drinks

It’s a simple solution, but it works! Sooner or later, someone will offer you a drink. Most parties have non-alcoholic options but, sometimes, you may end up at a house party where the host only has wine, beer, or spirits. To avoid these awkward interactions, consider bringing non-alcoholic drinks to the party. Not only is it a nice gesture, you’re less likely to be offered another drink when you’re already holding one.

This tip also goes for someone who’s not in recovery but hosting an event where sober people will be attending. Don’t forget to pick up some non-alcoholic drinks for your party. Simple gestures and support can go a long way.

Practice the Skills You Learned in Treatment

During addiction treatment, you learned to recognize your relapse cues, reshape negative thought patterns, tolerate stress, and resist social pressures. Now is the time to put these skills and strategies into use.

Remember to practice the techniques you’ve learned in treatment and recovery, such as:

  • Acknowledging your cravings. Experiencing cravings is common and it doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. Simply acknowledging and accepting cravings instead of denying them is often the first step in mitigating them.
  • Weighing the pros and cons of having that drink or using when cravings arise. The cons of relapsing are always much greater.
  • “Playing the tape forward” (i.e., asking yourself what will happen if you drink or use drugs). How might it affect your health, your relationships, and the progress you’ve made?
  • Examining your thoughts. Cravings are terrible; but in many cases, your mind is making it much worse. Rather than telling yourself “I can’t control this craving,” remind yourself that it will soon pass.

Remember it’s OK to Leave

Before you arrive at a situation where you feel something might trigger cravings—be it a family gathering, social setting, or sports event—it’s often a good idea to remind yourself you can leave whenever you want.

There’s never a good reason to stay in a situation that may threaten your sobriety and, by extension, your safety.

If you’re hosting a get-together with a loved one in recovery, you shouldn’t feel like you need to walk on eggshells around them. However, if they say they must leave or seem uncomfortable, don’t try to make them feel guilty about exiting early, and don’t take an Irish goodbye personally.

Get Addiction Help During the Holidays

Whether you’re considering treatment for the first time, or you’ve been through it before and relapsed, a better life is possible. Relapse is sometimes part of the process, and it doesn’t mean failure.

Call our compassionate admissions navigators at to start treatment today or to learn more about the various levels of care offered at Greenhouse, our rehab center near Dallas, Texas.

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