Skip to content

‘Tis The Season For The Sober Holidays Survival Guide

red white and brown gift boxes

Photo by on

Oh, what can be said about the wonderful holiday season!? It’s stressful. It’s demanding, it’s exhausting. It sure can be a challenge in sobriety! But it is nothing compared to the way I used to spend my holiday season… drunk and miserable.

This year especially, I seem to have many memory bubbles of the holidays past. It’s not a bad thing at all, they just remind me of how far I have come in my journey. Wow, was that really me? It’s hard to believe it! When I look back I can totally see the craziness of my addiction! I was so completely consumed by my disease that nothing else mattered.

I have that great memory of spending one Thanksgiving day at the local bar, after telling my family that I was severely sick and just couldn’t make it out of bed. I remember the bar was pretty empty. I spent the time talking to strangers and watching football and drinking beer after beer. I actually thought that this was just great and I was a badass! Ha! And the next day I was truly “sick” with a massive hangover!

beverage blur candy candy cane

Photo by Pixabay on

There was also that one Christmas that I drank port wine with my dad, and got drunk! I ended up in a blackout for most of the day and I don’t remember much but some bits and pieces. I do remember waking up really early the next morning, horribly riddled with shame and guilt, I snuck-out the door before anyone got up. No one ever talked about that incident.

And there was that other Christmas that I took a bus to my parents’ house because I lost my license after my DUI. This might have been a perfect time to stay home and get drunk, but I was so determined to keep up appearances, that I found a way to get to their house, some 45 miles away. That’s right, I took a train, and a bus, and a taxi! Then satisfied with my successful mission, I got drunk. Oh… and there are more, but I don’t want to waste any more space here with those memories.

If you really can’t relax, and you absolutely cannot leave, what works wonders for me is to tell myself that this is just one day out of my life, I can do this for just this day! I can stay sober today and see how I feel tomorrow. Most likely the next day I will feel better, and I will feel even better because I stayed sober!

flatlay photography of gift and baubles

Photo by on

Today I have new memories. Sobriety gave me new life and a new perspective. It gave me holidays spent with family, laughing and hugging. It has made me focus on the important things in life, like family. Even giving presents has become a new ritual; I no longer focused on appearances, and I am free to choose the gifts that really matter. It can still be stressful but the best part is that my drinking no longer adds to it! These days I get involved, step in, and help out! This keeps me busy and my mind occupied.

Here are a few ideas that help me survive the holidays sober:

  • Let go of perfectionism. No one and I mean not a single person in the world is perfect! It is OK to be imperfect.
  • Accept things as they are, neither good or bad. The less judgment you place on a situation the better you will be able to deal with it.
  • Focus on the moment and do not project. When we project how things are going to be, they almost always happen just like we projected.
  • Don’t take anything personally. This is huge, when we are in our heads and internalizing everyone’s behavior, that they don’t like us, that they don’t want us around, that we embarrass them, we are the only ones hurting. The fact is that even if they feel that way, those are their feelings, not ours.
  • Remember that we are all different people. And when we throw a bunch of different people together it’s almost inevitable for tensions to raise. But that doesn’t mean that we have to get upset and we do not have to take their crap on and make it ours.

And lastly, be positive and enjoy yourself! After all, that’s what the season is all about right!? And stay connected! Keep writing, keep reading and keep sharing. We all are in this together and together is how we can get through it, and stay sober!

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups.

You may also find some great inspiration and support from all the awesome sober bloggers listed in the sidebar under POSTS I LIKE and RECOVERY BLOGGERS, as well as Sober Courage page on Facebook and Sober Courage on Twitter.



  1. Wow, what a brilliant post! I will definitely be printing this one out to keep handy! Your tips on getting through the festive season could be applied to so many areas of life, I’m sure. Thank you for sharing your valuable insight, and for the words of encouragement!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I appreciate it. Of course these are also reminders for myself! Lol! I got a pretty dysfunctional family and there is bound to be some drama. And yes these are definitely good life tips too, because there are also reunions and bdays and vacations! But somehow the holidays always win out to be the most “interesting”! Lol!
      Hang in and have a great Thanksgiving!


    • You’re welcome! I don’t have a big family either, but somehow… there is always some drama! I just have to stay out of it. 🙂

      Ps. Awww, that’s so sweet! It’s actually a picture of my son when he was 8months old. Nana insisted on getting him all dressed up! Lol!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This post is great- this is my first holiday sober and I’m thinking it will be hard, but I’ve already been sober three weeks and love it, I’m just hoping the alcohol all around me doesn’t affect me too much. I may print this article up and read it when I feel stressed while I’m there. That’s for this brilliant share.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Congrats on 3 weeks! Woot woot! Yes, it maybe hard to be around alcohol – very tempting, I like comparing it to being in a doughnut shop while on a diet, right? But you can definitely get through it! Keep in mind why you quit drinking and what it was like when you were drinking, and if you start again it will be just the same as before and maybe worse. If you stay sober, life will get better and better, for sure!

      Hang in! You can do this! Hugs.


  3. Thank you for this great post! I wild be sure to refer to the great tips over the next month. I have a large, fun family who enjoy drinking, fortunately they respect me and the program and the journey I am on. I know when and what to do if a situation or environment gets “hairy”. I have even tuned down a few invites because I know its more than I can handle at this point in my sobriety. I am willing to do anything to protect my sobriety, because without it, I got nothing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Awesome! That’s a great attitude! I feel the same way – what ever it takes to stay sober, that’s what I do. And I can make these lists forever but if I am not actually doing these things than it just doesn’t matter. But, if I put sobriety first, then I always succeed.

      Thank you for stopping by! Have a great Thanksgiving! Hugs.


  4. Thank you so much for sharing. This is my first sober holiday season and I’m already a bit anxious about it all.
    Thanks for the tips and advice!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post, thank you…holidays will be hard sober. But, for me it’s not the actual gathering (as my family doesn’t drink much)- its after the gathering and the emotions that come with family crap. Blah. This Will be my first holidays sober too. Hoping to get through them!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that’s hard too. My family is pretty dysfunctional. We are all over the place(and I don’t mean physically!) and then all it takes is for my dad throw one of his “inapropriate” comments and it all goes to hell! Lol! I guess it’s sort of predictable so maybe that’s good, I can be ready for that. He he. But really it can be draining, right. Hang it though. I know you can get through this. Sending may hugs.


  6. I love all the tips. I needed to read this today. I know for me that some quiet time with Creator/Love is super important because it allows me to recognize the beauty that is within me. I take that beautiful girl to the holiday (not the bi*ch). I love mallards4us comment too. It’s not the drinking that gets me. It’s the other tacit communication that wears me down. I have to shore up. Wait …. I choose to shore up and go and be beautiful. Thanks for this much appreciated post. xox Lisa

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Lisa! Oh I know what you mean. I spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws who are also in recovery and Xmas is at my house and we don’t serve alcohol so that piece is gone but… there sure is lots of other crap! Lol! I think I often put it on myself with the perfectionism and projecting. I found that if I just let things be as they are I am better off.

      I love the quiet time with the creator piece too. Thank you for the reminder. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is my first sober Thanksgiving. It feels super weird because I used to declare my it as my favorite holiday because, “It’s socially acceptable to just drink…all day.” I’m super nervous even though we’ve decided to spend it at home, just the two of us. I guess it’s the last great hurdle. The last, “I’ve never done that sober.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right! The holidays did feel sort of special because it was socially acceptable to drink all day for me too. Like I felt it was the day I could just drink like I normally do not around my family. So I thought it was ok cause everyone else was drinking all day too. But you know then I would end up shitfaced and turn into that person! Ugh. So in the end it wasn’t so great.

      Hang in. Stay connected and in the moment! Sending hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

Share your Sober Courage here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: