With Christmas just around the corner, you may be wondering how to stay sober during all the festivities. As the holiday season is a time of parties and celebration, maintaining sobriety can be somewhat daunting, especially to those just starting their recovery journey.
Whether you think it’s the most wonderful time of the year or not, you can have an enjoyable Christmas without turning to alcohol. After all, being sober does not mean having to miss out on all the fun.
Here are three tips for celebrating Christmas sober.
1. Plan Activities That Don’t Involve Alcohol
Christmas is all about spending quality time with family and friends. Before embarking on your path to sobriety, you might have engaged in many social events involving alcohol. But it doesn’t have to be this way, and there’s no need to miss out just because you are dedicated to your sobriety.
There’s no better time than now to start new traditions that you will look forward to for years to come. Why not plan a night of board games, festive movies, or baking treats with loved ones? Many of these fun activities can be enjoyed by the entire family.
Instead of alcohol, why not set up a hot cocoa station with a variety of toppings to add? If that doesn’t appeal to you, try masala chai tea, a warming drink with rich spices that invokes the Christmas spirit.
2. Keep Busy
Like many others, you may find that keeping busy will help you avoid falling into bad habits or dwelling on old traditions.
Whether creating a routine that includes a form of fitness activity or taking the time to learn new skills, meet new people, and do good for your community, there are many things you can do to stay busy.
Over the festive period, your social calendar might not look busy. If this is the case, why not join a book club, sports group, or community? Crafts also make a great distraction – you’ll even have a finished product at the end to show for your hard work. You could even use them as Christmas gifts.
Another idea for staying busy is volunteering your time to charity, such as animal shelters or soup kitchens. Volunteering is exceptionally beneficial if you find yourself feeling lonely around this time of year. Not only will volunteering leave you feeling good about yourself, but you’ll have the chase to make some friends along the way. You’ll also be making a positive difference in other people’s lives.
3. Plan Ahead
A little planning ahead eases unnecessary anxiety during the festive period. If invited to an event or gathering, consider taking a delicious non-alcoholic drink with you just in case there aren’t any provided. If you go to a restaurant, research the menu ahead of time to see if any of the meals include an alcoholic drink. In doing so, you can ask in advance if they would substitute something non-alcoholic.
If you are participating in gift exchanging or secret Santa, see if someone would be willing to swap with you should you receive an alcoholic gift. Better yet, suggest to your family members, friends, or colleagues that no alcoholic gifts are given. Instead, come up with a theme such as silly socks, puzzles, mugs, or homemade items only.
Celebrate Christmas on Your Own Terms
There is no right way to enjoy Christmas. You might choose to put up your Christmas decorations the moment Thanksgiving is over, the night of Christmas eve, or not at all. You are under no obligation to celebrate in a specific way. Irrespective of your preferences when celebrating the holiday, be kind to yourself during this challenging time.
Remember the acronym H.A.L.T – this stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. These are risk states that can throw a wrench in your recovery. Recognize your triggers, and don’t be afraid to reach out to your support network. There are many people out there working on their sobriety and also having a sober Christmas. You are not alone in this journey.
The key to a successful sober Christmas is being prepared and staying in control.