How To Avoid Drinking During the Holidays
For some people, the holidays aren’t the most wonderful time of year. Even if you’re excited to join in on the holiday cheer, festive gatherings can become difficult for anyone trying to stay sober. Alcohol is a popular part of the season. Even the most innocent gatherings can take a stressful turn for recovering alcoholics. Know that you’re not alone. The effort to stay sober is a common one, even during a season of warmth and happiness. With a good support system, healthy boundaries, and a reliable list of alternatives to drinking, you can still enjoy your favorite holiday traditions with your loved ones. Check out our best tips and advice for how to avoid drinking during the holidays below.
Socializing is a huge part of the holiday season. If you avoid gatherings out of fear of drinking, you could end up isolating yourself instead. This can bring up feelings of loneliness and depression that might lead to a relapse. Don’t close yourself off from your loved ones in an effort to stay sober. Instead, plan for each gathering appropriately so you know what to expect. If you feel comfortable, talk to the host of the party about who’s going to be there, what kind of drinks will be available, and any other hesitancies you have. You can still skip gatherings you aren’t comfortable with, of course. For example, if your old drinking buddies are going to be there to pressure you, it might be a good idea to make other plans.
Bring Your Own Beverage
When you already have a drink in your hand, people are far less likely to ask you if you want alcohol. Bringing your own non-alcoholic drink can help you avoid questions and steer clear of the punch or champagne. This is particularly important if you’re not sure what will be available at the gathering. No one wants to deal with awkward hosts fumbling to find something you can actually drink. You also don’t want to be stuck drinking water at festive holiday celebrations. Never fear, because bringing your own drink means you can make it just as festive and fun as any alcoholic beverage. Warm cider, cocoa, or sparkling grape juice are great seasonal options that taste great and allow you to join in on the holiday cheer.
Find Alternative Ways To Celebrate
Not every festive gathering has to involve alcohol. You can find plenty of other ways to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones. Winter hikes after a fresh snowfall, holiday movie nights, or a drive around the neighborhood to see all the lights are excellent ways to spend a December day. You can even branch out and start new traditions. Try your hand at winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding. Spend more time with the kids during their favorite holiday activities. You can also turn regular traditions into full celebrations. Make a day out of picking out the tree and decorating the home. Turn gift wrapping into an event all its own, especially if you’re helping little ones wrap their presents for family members. If you can find new ways to stay busy and entertained, you won’t have to spend as much time agonizing over drinking or not drinking.
Find Your Go-To Support System
A huge part of how to avoid drinking during the holidays is to enlist the help of others. Chances are, there are people in your life who also struggle during this season. A support system is invaluable when trying to stay sober, especially during this time of year. If a party gets too hectic, when people’s questions become too personal, or when the seasonal blues start affecting you too much, make sure you have someone to turn to. When you can talk with someone who understands your situation and your triggers, even the most difficult situations become more bearable. Your friends can help you field questions and avoid dangerous situations. Your support system might also double as a sober buddy. When someone else is also avoiding alcohol at the party—whether it’s out of solidarity or out of their own desire to stay sober—people are far more likely to accept your own sobriety. Never be afraid to reach out to your loved ones. The buddy system can make every holiday gathering easier and far more entertaining.
Prepare for Questions
Unfortunately, people can be nosy. Even close friends and family can grow annoying or intrusive when they start asking about your drinking habits. While it isn’t anyone’s business, it can help to have a few stock answers for common questions on hand. Phrases such as, “Thanks, but I’m happier without a drink” or even “I’d rather not talk about it; let’s just enjoy the holiday instead” can help shut down conversations you don’t want to have. Know your boundaries and do whatever you must to uphold them. Do your best to be friendly but firm with your answers. On the other hand, you don’t even have to talk about your sobriety. If someone asks if you want a drink, excuses like, “I have to drive home” or “I have plans early in the morning” will also work to stop unnecessary questions about your drinking habits.
Remind Yourself of the Good
When things get hard this holiday season, remember—your sobriety is a good thing. Remind yourself of why you wanted to stop drinking in the first place and all the progress you’ve made since then. When you’re at a party and surrounded by alcohol, it’s easy to feel like nothing’s changed. But it has. You’ve made steps; you can continue that progress. If it’s hard to focus on the positives, ask your support system to help you remember just how far you’ve come. It’s also important to celebrate your victories throughout the season. After making it through a difficult party or gathering, take the time to step back, de-stress, and care for yourself. This will help you stay positive and avoid becoming emotionally drained throughout the holidays.
The holidays can be a difficult time, but Serenity Group wants to help. If you’re still dealing with the consequences of your past drinking, such as DUIs and SR22 insurance, we’ve got your back. Visit our website and find affordable policies and SR22 insurance quotes in California or any of our other service areas throughout the U.S. We’ll help you work through your SR22 requirements as efficiently as possible so you can focus on staying sober, healthy, and happy no matter the time of year.