How to Maintain Sobriety during Holiday Parties

Holiday party with friends

The holidays are a wonderful time of year that are full of family time, lots of great food and happy memories. On the other hand, they are also full of stress, overindulgence and a lot of parties. Parties can be a good thing but they can also be a little difficult for someone who is learning how to live a substance-free life. So how does a person walk the line of maintaining their sobriety and participating in the holiday season? Here is some advice from someone whose been there.

When Possible Remove Alcohol from the Equation

I remember I was so nervous the first time I went to a holiday gathering after finishing treatment for my alcoholism. My family has always been very supportive of my recovery but before I got sober we always had alcoholic drinks at family get-togethers. After I turned 21 the big holidays had turned into a “free pass” for day drinking so I wasn’t sure how things were going to go without alcohol. Luckily my family really wanted me to be successful when it came to my sobriety and were willing to accommodate me in this area. Since I have gotten sober there hasn’t been any alcohol at any of these types of family functions. At first, I thought people might feel resentful about this but it has turned out that no one really seemed to mind and if they did, they at least kept it to themselves. It is possible to enjoy the holidays without any form of alcohol, even if you don’t have a drinking problem.

Have an Exit Plan

It is always good to have an exit plan that you can fall back on if things begin to get too uncomfortable. It’s usually best to set this up beforehand so that when the need arises you are ready to go. Depending on the type of relationship you have with the host, you can either be completely upfront about the fact that you have reached your limit for being around alcohol and if not, there are plenty of other reasons to give for heading out. Either way, make sure to give yourself the means to leave early because the longer the party lasts the drunker the other people will get.

Bring a Supportive Friend

No one wants to be the only sober person at a party. Not only is it uncomfortable, but it is also honestly kind of annoying to be around a bunch of drunk people when you aren’t drinking. If you are going to a function where you know most of the people there will be under the influence it would be helpful to bring along a supportive friend that will stay sober with you. This way you at least have one person you can talk to that isn’t slurring their words and you won’t feel singled out.

It’s OK Not to Go

Establishing firm boundaries is one of the most essential aspects of maintaining sobriety. If you do not feel comfortable going to a certain party and feel it may jeopardize your recovery. then by all means polity decline. It’s ok to say no and it’s not healthy to say yes to everything, especially if it may be damaging to your personal well-being. There is no need to worry about missing out because there will be plenty of other offers in the future. Most importantly, you will be advocating for yourself in a way that no one else can. Always do what is best for you and your sobriety and know when it is time to simply say no.



After overcoming her own addiction in 2012 Julie went on to become certified as an addiction counselor in order to help others achieve a life of recovery. She worked in the addiction field for 8 years and now uses both her personal and professional experiences with addiction as an influence for her writing.