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How to Survive New Year’s Sober (And Have Fun!)

With so many parties and celebrations, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time of year for those trying to stay sober. The temptation may be high, but there are things you can do to make sober holidays more enjoyable. The key is to plan to stay sober before the festivities start, and make sure you have the support of friends and family around you. Here are some tips to help you have an enjoyable sober New Years.

Bring a sober friend to events.

There’s strength in numbers, and it’s much easier to stay sober if you have someone else doing it with you. If you’re headed to a party where you know you’ll feel highly tempted, ask someone to come with you to be your sober supporter. This way, you’ll have someone to hold you accountable – this is one of those times when peer pressure can be a good thing. It also means you will have someone to talk to if you feel overwhelmed and need a bit of emotional support.

Keep a (non-alcoholic) drink in your hand.

One of the easiest ways to make a sober Christmas a bit easier is to have a glass in front of you. This could be anything from a mocktail to your favorite soda to water, but if everyone else is drinking, it will help you feel a bit more comfortable. With a glass in hand, you can mitigate the temptation to drink and avoid relapse. Instead of focusing on the fact that you’re not drinking when other people are, you’ll be able to better enjoy having fun conversations with them.

Plan your exit ahead of time.

There might be times when you feel too overwhelmed to stay at a holiday function, and that’s okay. A good way to handle this is to plan your exit before you even show up at the party. Decide how you’re getting home and come up with a tactful way to slip out of the event so that if you do need to leave, you won’t have to think, you can just go. Make sure you have some yummy food and a book or a movie waiting for you when you get home. This will prevent you from feeling lonely, which is another common trigger for people struggling with sobriety.

Stick to your routine as much as possible.

When you’ve worked so hard to stay clean,  it’s important to stick to your normal routine during the holidays. Try to keep your bedtime and mealtimes at the same time each day, and don’t forget to keep working out. The holiday season is a time when people often slip into unhealthy habits, and if you allow yourself to neglect your health, it will make drinking feel more tempting. You should also make sure that you continue going to your regular meetings and checking in with a therapist or sponsor. Continual encouragement will make the sober holidays seem easier and will remind you why you decided to stay sober in the first place.

Do things that make you happy.

If you’re feeling disappointed about having a sober Christmas or spending the holidays in rehab, look for little ways you can treat yourself when you’re feeling down. Go out to dinner, buy yourself a new outfit, or even just allow yourself to watch a TV show you haven’t had time for lately. Remember that you deserve to have a happy holiday season too, even if you aren’t drinking.

Remember that you aren’t alone – there’s a huge number of people around the world who are celebrating this holiday season sober. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your sponsor or a professional if you need a bit of extra support during this challenging time. With a little bit of planning and self-care, you can make a sober holiday feel fun again.