Avoiding Alcohol this Winter Holiday Season

Man holding up his hand, refusing a drink

Most adults report an increase in drinking habits over the winter holiday season. This can pose a challenge for individuals in recovery who are doing everything they can to maintain sobriety. Our team at Decision Point Center is here to share tips for recovering individuals who are concerned about avoiding alcohol during these upcoming holidays. We know you can do it: here are some things to do for a successful, sober season.

The Role of Alcohol in Holiday Festivities

Holiday parties often provide numerous alcoholic options for guests. This may be red wine, seasonal cocktails, or a cooler filled with canned drinks. With so much easy access, individuals in recovery need to be prepared to avoid temptation.

Additionally, some holiday traditions even involve alcohol. For example, the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving has recently become a holiday focused on binge drinking. If you or your loved one is in recovery, make a concerted effort to plan sober traditions and activities so that no one feels left out of holiday fun.

Avoiding Temptation and Triggers Over the Holidays

Preparing beforehand is one of the best ways to maintain sobriety throughout the holidays.

Share Your Sobriety Concerns With Loved Ones

You likely have upcoming holiday gatherings with friends and family members. If these occasions raise concerns about your sobriety, communicate this with your loved ones. You may first need to explain to them that you are living a sober lifestyle or that you are in recovery if they do not already know. Then, you may share what is worrying you about the event. For example, do certain family dynamics make you feel inclined to drink? Are you worried about certain games involving alcohol? Whatever you foresee being an issue, discuss this with your loved ones. Together, you may devise a plan to help you maintain your sobriety.

Bring Your Own Drinks

While there are typically always non-alcoholic options available, you may feel better going to a holiday party with your own drinks already in hand. You may buy a fun new flavored seltzer water or another specialty non-alcoholic beverage so that you are still enjoying a celebratory drink while also not risking your sobriety.

Also, keeping a drink in your hand can help decrease your general anxiety and lower your chances of being tempted to drink alcohol.

Find a Recovery Mentor for Support

Many individuals in recovery have mentors to whom they can speak when they feel like they are struggling or need words of encouragement. This can be especially beneficial over the holidays when temptations are stronger. Seek a mentor and build a relationship with them so you can rely on each other.

Know When To Step Away

Certain places or people can be especially triggering to your desire for alcohol. Know when to take a step back or leave situations.

For example, you may need to excuse yourself if:

  • Conflict is starting around you

  • Someone is trying to start a conflict with you

  • Everyone around you is becoming intoxicated

  • The event you are at is focused around alcohol

  • You are feeling distressed

These are all valid reasons to either temporarily step away or leave the gathering altogether. What matters most at this time is your recovery journey; you need to do what is best for you and your sobriety.

Hope Begins at Decision Point Center

The holidays can be challenging for those in recovery and those currently struggling with substance use. If you are ready to take the next step forward in your journey to sobriety, we encourage you to contact us at Decision Point Center. We are Arizona’s premier leader for alcohol and drug addiction. Learn more about the programs we offer and how to get started today.