How to Stay Sober Throughout the Holiday Season

Christmas Party

It’s that time of year again—the Holiday season is upon us. For many this is a time of joy and celebration, for others, it is a time of stress and frustration. Either way, there is often drinking involved, so how does one get through this season without drinking? It may not seem easy, especially if you are still in early recovery, but not only is it possible, it is also the best way to experience the season.

Whether it’s your family that is driving you crazy or your weird drunk uncle who keeps offering you a drink, we’re here to help give you some pointers to not only make it through the season sober but to also have a fun time doing it!


There is a huge misconception in society that drinking makes everything more enjoyable or that you need a glass of wine to have fun. I personally feel sorry for the people who actually believe this lie because they are missing out on so much that life has to offer! Let’s be real. Drinking dulls our senses, makes us do and say things we normally wouldn’t and leaves us feeling terrible the next morning. When you remember these truths, it is easier to realize that by staying sober, you really aren’t missing out on anything that’s fun.

2. Remember that drinking Fuels Family Drama.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that unnecessary arguments are more likely to occur when the people involved have had even a little too much to drink. Who really wants to spend their holidays around alcohol-induced family drama??? Not this girl. On the bright side if this does pop up with other family people in your family if you’re sober, you don’t have to worry about waiting for a taxi to get the heck out of dodge.

3. Don’t be afraid to leave early if you need to.

If things start to get a little too boozy and you just can’t take it anymore, then you have every right to leave. When it comes to protecting your sobriety, you are under no obligation to worry about hurting people’s feelings by ditching the party. Stand up for yourself and keep those healthy boundaries intact because if you don’t then no one else will do it for you.

Guy passed out at bar

4. Staying sober allows you to enjoy the moment.

Have you ever drank too much and blacked out losing parts of the night before? This is a horrible feeling to wake up to any time of the year, but even more so on a holiday. If you have children or elderly parents, you won’t want to miss out on those special memories because they are something you can never replace. No one reaches the end of their life thinking… “I wish I drank too much and blacked out more often.” What is cherished most at the end of our days are those memories of life’s special moments.

5. Remember that you’ll be happy the next morning when you don’t have a hangover.

Speaking of blackouts… have you ever woken up on Christmas morning hungover? It kind of takes most of the fun out of the entire day when you spend the morning puking and dehydrated… enough said on that one.

6. Replace all those empty calories from drinking with extra dessert!!!

Drinking alcohol means consuming lots of extra “empty calories” that have no nutritional value. Beer, wine and mixed drinks all have tons of calories. So instead of drinking a bunch of calories that are going to make you feel sick the next day why not spend those calories on something that’s worth it like extra chocolate, ice-cream, cookies or pie. Really eat whatever you want because when you maintain your sobriety, you've earned it.

7. Save that extra money not spent on alcohol for a present to give yourself.

Drinking a lot of alcohol can be pretty expensive. Sure you can also drink on the cheap, but the fact is you’re still going to be spending money on it. Instead of putting all that money towards alcohol why not stash it away to buy yourself a special gift instead.

8. Be upfront about your recovery.

If people keep bothering you about why you aren’t drinking, then you can either tell them you just don’t want to or completely open up about the fact that you are in recovery. Most people will respect you more for being honest about it and drop the issue altogether unless they’re a real jerk in which case why would you want to keep talking to them anyway?

9. Enjoy some fancy non-alcoholic drinks.

fancy hot cocoa

Just because you aren’t drinking alcohol doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some sweet drinks with umbrellas in them. Make up some fun “mocktails” or whip up some booshie hot cocoa with candy canes and extra marshmallows.

10. Give your family the best gift you can: your sobriety.

In all seriousness, the best gift that you can give your family and yourself is your sobriety. The people who care about you the most should support you in this not only during the holiday season but throughout the entire year. If moments of temptation or stress do pop up, then just remember why you wanted to get sober in the first place and who you are doing it for.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season from all of us at Narconon Colorado!
Christmas morning


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.