If you are wondering how to stay sober during the holidays, you are not alone. Every year, a lot of people go through the same ordeal during the holiday season. Sure, with all the celebration and parties going around, it is hard to stay away from the booze. But at the same time, it is important to not give in to your cravings.

People avoid alcohol for a number of reasons. However, for someone recovering from alcohol abuse, it is absolutely essential to steer clear of liquor in order to avoid a relapse. Unfortunately, the holiday season comes with a lot of stressors that might make an individual want to turn towards alcohol.

One simple reason is that while seeing friends and family may seem like a blessing, at the same time, it can increase stress and pressure. No one can deny that answering difficult questions in a family setting can bring upon stress; “Did you guys breakup?”, “Are ever going to graduate?”, “Did you get a promotion yet?” It’s no wonder, at the end of the day, that you turn towards alcohol to find solace and comfort.

Apart from the family get-togethers, work and social events can also work to allure sober alcoholics towards their previous ways of life. Peer pressure and the longing to fit in can make an individual want to raise their glass to a toast or take a shot with friends.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to avoid giving up on your no-alcohol resolution. Scroll down to read how to avoid alcohol during the holidays and stick to your resolve to for a healthier and happier life.

1. Escape Plan

alcohol and the holidaysWe understand that you may not want everyone to know about your struggles with alcohol and why you are avoiding it. To make sure you don’t land yourself in an awkward position where you are required to drink, come up with an escape plan.

You may want to arrange your own transportation. Also, it is a good idea to let your host know that you will be leaving early. It is also advisable to involve a few confidants in your plan to make sure you have all the support that you need.

2. Alternative of Alcohol

One surefire way of avoiding alcohol in an event is to bring a bottle of a non-alcoholic drink with yourself. As long as your glass is filled with a liquid, nobody cares what you are drinking. You will be able to participate in the family toast without creating an awkward situation for yourself or feeling left out.

Plus, if you publicly announce that you have brought a non-alcoholic drink that is suited for everyone, including children, you will instantly become the hero of the party and people may even limit their own alcohol intake. In short, a nonalcoholic drink will give you something to hold on to while effectively keeping people from offering you a drink.

3. Prepare Smart Replies

Another easy way to avoid alcohol is to simply decline the offer when someone offers you an alcoholic drink. There’s no need to stress about what you are going to say. Instead, take some time and think of a few answers beforehand. Use them according to the event and the person. For example, you can give the following reasons to politely decline a drink.

  • Thank you but I am not drinking tonight.
  • Thank you but I am on some medication that can’t be mixed with alcohol.
  • Thank you but I am the designated driver for tonight.
  • Thank you but I have to go visit someone after this event and I am trying to stay sober for that.
  • I don’t drink anymore.

You will be amazed to see how easy it is to refuse a drink. Most people are not pushy about alcohol when you give them a proper reason for not drinking.

4. Be Picky

Sure, the holiday season is supposed to be all about mingling and enjoying with your friends and family but that does not mean you can’t be picky about who you choose to meet and which events you choose to attend.

If you know a certain person is likely to bring out stress in you, it is advisable to skip the event where you might see them. For example, you may wish to avoid an ex after a bad breakup or that one aunt who always gives you a hard time.

It is important to understand that you are not obliged to say “yes” to every invitation. Holidays are supposed to be fun, so make sure you choose to spend them with people whose company you truly enjoy.

5. Holiday Traditions

A fun way to avoid alcohol is to come up with new holiday traditions that do not involve the use of alcohol. Whether you volunteer at a soup kitchen, take a holiday trip with your loved ones, go out to the movies or announce a ‘sober’ get-together – there are a number of ways to find new holiday activities that won’t put you at the position where you might feel the need to fill your glass with liquor.

6. Don’t Go Hungry

Eating before going to an event can help you control your cravings. It is believed that the part of the brain that regulates eating also regulates addictive behavior. Meaning, if you are hungry, you are more likely to drink as compared to when you are feeling full.

7. Forgive Yourself

Quitting drinking is like quitting smoking. There will be slip ups. There’s always a chance that you may end up sneaking a drink. But it is important to realize that being too hard on yourself is not beneficial. This does not mean that you can have a drink every once in a while. It simply means that if you do, learn to forgive yourself. Don’t fret yourself over it. Instead begin again with a new and strong resolve!

Remember, you don’t need alcohol to enjoy this holiday season. Happy Holidays! If you would like to speak to a counselor or other professional, give Scottsdale Recovery Center® a call. We will gladly help you develop a plan to ensure your sobriety throughout the holidays. Don’t hesitate! Reach out today.

Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center® holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.