Sober Holiday Survival Guide | The Discovery House | Take Back Your Life
Sober Holiday Survival Guide

Sober Holiday Survival Guide

No matter how long one has been sober the holidays can be a hard time to deal with. Part of staying sober is learning to adapt and develop the tools that to lead a healthy life. When equipped with a good mindset the tools that have been developed are put to their best use.

During the holidays one can choose to focus on the negative and feel sorry for themselves or learn to embrace joy and remember to live one day at a time with the growth in challenges and the serenity of knowing one is on the right path.

A Good Listener

One of the most important things to develop in sobriety is a good support system. This may encompass friends and family but also a list of emergency contacts that understand the challenges faced in sobriety, especially during holiday time.  A few things to remember:

  • Keep a phone list handy in a purse or wallet
  • Even though others are busy during the holiday don’t let that be an excuse not to call when facing a possible relapse or when a listening ear is needed
  • No drama is as big as it seems in the moment and a decision may have to be thought about or slept on in order to take appropriate action

The Accidental Drink

When attending a party where alcohol is present don’t drink out of a wine glass. It might easily get mixed up with someone else’s glass and an accidental drink could be taken.

If the accidental drink happens, do not continue drinking. Call someone on the support list immediately and leave the situation where the drink happened. Do not take it too hard if an accidental drink happens, it can be chalked up to a learning experience.


Sobriety will sometimes lead to anxiety but there is no reason not to anticipate an upcoming party for reasons other than drinking. A party is a perfect place to practice sober social skills and meet new people. A few things to bear in mind:

  • Come up with a list of topics to talk about at parties
  • Bring a sober friend or someone who will remain sober during the party
  • Leave early if feeling uncomfortable
  • Have plans after or a back up plan if one leaves early


The holidays can be extremely hectic. Tradition is a huge part of the holidays but don’t be guilted into situations where one may feel uncomfortable. It is not the end of the world to be selective with which events one can attend. It is a rational fear that if old obligations or traditions are not followed then one might not be included in other events or the same traditions next year. This might be so, but number one on the list should be sobriety.  New traditions can be created if old ones are no longer healthy or end up being too stressful.

Shopping, decorating, baking and making a huge holiday meal may be some of the expectations.  The holidays do not have to be perfect and most of the time spontaneity is the key to creating new traditions. Finding new ways to accomplish some of these tasks and decrease stress will help keep cravings under control.  A few tips:

  • Shop online
  • Include some premade baked goods or sides with the meal
  • Put up simple decorations and don’t feel that there is a deadline for when the decoration has to be up
  • Have a potluck instead of making the entire holiday meal
  • Check online and in newspapers to see what local holiday events are happening
  • Take the time to enjoy the presence of friends and family