Sober Christmas: Practical Guide for Celebrating Christmas in Recovery



Celebrating a sober Christmas doesn’t have to be daunting. On the other hand, Christmas doesn’t have to cost you your sobriety. Read on for these practical tips to celebrate Christmas sober.

The festive season is truly and undeniably upon us. Post-pandemic, we all want to now catch up on those missed moments and celebrate the holiday season to the full, this time as a sober Christmas.

As a recovering addict, you may be worried about how you can stay sober while still being able to make memorable moments with friends, families, and loved ones.

Throughout all the festivities around celebrating Christmas, let us at Bridges of Hope now reassure you:

You don’t have to drink to dance.

This means, you don’t have to be drinking to have fun. A party without alcohol doesn’t always equate to boring.

And for those who suffer from drug or alcohol use disorder, sobriety doesn’t—and shouldn’t— mean boring. In fact, sobriety means freedom, most especially now during this Christmas season. Being sober allows you to be fully immersed in the moment and to be fully present around the people who matter the most to you.

Now, if you’re new to recovery or have suffered from a relapse, we understand how attending Christmas parties or being around the festivities can be daunting. Here in the Philippines, most especially, Christmas means celebration and excesses in the name of good cheer. This is true when it comes to parties, gift-giving, food, and also drinking.

Celebrating a Sober Christmas

Thus, we have put together these practical tips for helping you make the most of this yuletide season while still staying true to your commitment to sobriety and recovery.

  1. Remember that your sobriety comes first. Before anything else, remember this. It took you a lot to be where you are now and it will take more hard work and commitment to stay sober. Like you, there are many more people who have taken this commitment to stay sober or not to drink. For you, hold on to this commitment to guide you on your choices and decisions this season and in the days, months, and years to come.
  2. Bring your own drink. To be safe, bring your own favorite non-alcoholic drink. If you want, you can also bring your own cup or glass so it’s recognizable to you. This makes it easier for you so you don’t have to guess if the drinks served have alcohol or not. You will know that your glass is yours and you’re drinking your own drink. With those out of the way, you can then mingle and go around without any worries.
  3. Prepare what you’re going to say. You may not be ready to tell people that you’re recovering from problematic drinking or alcoholism. It’s better to come prepared with a response in case people ask why you’re not drinking. While you don’t really owe anyone an explanation, this might come more frequently if you’re known by people as someone who is a bid drinker. Saying that you’re driving or taking medication might be a good response. If someone grills you or is persistent, then move away with a smile and sit with other people.
  4. Stay close to sober people. These days, more people choose a sober lifestyle for a variety of reasons. Therefore, it’s likely that you’re not the only sober person in a Christmas party. Look out for other non-drinkers and connect with them instead of those who may be getting even more intoxicated as the night wears on. This way, you can have a sober buddy and best of all, you can enjoy the food, the moment, and the conversation better.
  5. Stay grounded. This allows you to be vigilant of your surroundings and connected to your own feelings. Check in on your internal state and the narrative playing out in your mind. If you are feeling uncomfortable being surrounded by so much drinking and alcohol, then know when to excuse yourself and leave.
  6. Be present. Enjoy the social aspect of the celebration or event. Enjoy your conversations and really listen to and interact with the people around you—after all, this is what Christmas gatherings are all about. And you don’t have to drink to enjoy these connections with your family and friends.

A sober Christmas can be difficult for many people. If you’re reading this and are still struggling with your drinking or drug use, we’re here to help. You don’t have to feel alone and getting sober may just be the best gift you can give yourself and your family.

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