sober christmas

The Holidays can wreak serious havoc on those in sobriety. Triggers like shame and guilt often mix with regrets and recriminations. Then there's the ever-present temptation of alcohol. So just how do we have a very sober Christmas?

Tips for a Sober Christmas

'Tis the Season. You want to enjoy time with the people you love and perhaps don’t get to see all that often. The trouble is that most holiday celebrations include alcohol. It may be in the punch. It may be in the eggnog. Or it may be in the craft beers and holiday cocktails. Whatever the form. Alcohol is alcohol is alcohol. Especially when one drink is too many and a hundred is never enough.

Don't Wing It

A sober Christmas demands planning. What to do if you feel an urge to drink. What to do if others are drunk. How to respond if you're put on the spot. Don't just count on your willpower to get you through the temptations of holiday gatherings. Have a gameplan.

Consider Bowing Out

Consider whether you really ought to go to the family party this year. A family celebration that includes abundant alcohol is not a great place to maintain sobriety, especially for the newly sober. Those who support your sobriety will understand. Those who don’t, won’t. But that's okay. Your sobriety isn’t dependent upon getting everyone on board.

Offer an Alternative

One good way to stay clear of alcohol and still see family and friends is to arrange to have breakfast at a local eatery. If the point is to get together rather than to get drunk, a breakfast fueled by coffee instead of alcohol is a great alternative!

Find Healthy Holiday Distractions

Go look at the holiday lights in the town square. Play Secret Santa for a family of disadvantaged children. Help out at a local soup kitchen. Attend Christmas Eve Mass at a neighborhood church. You can even invite friends and family to join you. It can make for one memorable holiday.


If you do decide to attend a holiday get-together, bring your own festive and non-alcoholic drinks. Christmas mocktails such as Cranberry Spice, Apple Barley Old-Fashioned and Peppermint Punch can be easily made. They will also allow you to join in the festivities without risking your sobriety.

Have a Good Comeback

Be prepared with a joke or a friendly but effective comeback for those who offer you a drink. A self-deprecating quip can dissuade even the most persistent party-goer. It may also open their alcohol-clouded eyes.

Have an Escape Plan

Have some excuses handy if you begin to feel uncomfortable and need to leave. And be sure to have a ready way to get home. Remember public transportation is rarely readily available during the holidays. Taxis and Uber can also be in short supply. So if you don't drive, pre-arrange a ride.

Rely on Sober Support

Sober support is crucial. Whether it's someone who can join you in the festivities or a sponsor you can call if things feel like they're getting out of hand. You might also identify a relative who is an ally. Talk to them ahead of time about how they can be most supportive. Maybe even pre-arrange a signal so they can rescue you from an uncomfortable situation or you just simply need a break.

Double Up on Your Program

Do you generally make a meeting a day? Then consider two. Do you call your sponsor every afternoon? Then try calling in the morning too. Are you sponsoring others yourself? Then reach out and offer an understanding ear or even an extra helping hand. Remember, you're not the only one looking to have a very sober Christmas. So why not share the occasion with others who are looking to have a sober Christmas too?

Have Yourself a Very Sober Christmas

We at Recovery Boot Camp would like to wish each and every one of you a Very Sober Christmas, as well as a Happy and Sober New Year!

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