Did you know that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americas dedicate approximately 1% of their spending on alcohol?
That's a hefty chunk of our paychecks. It pays off in many ways to choose sobriety during the holidays.
The journey of being sober is one that requires significant effort and dedication to your mission. Another important part of the journey is an understanding of why you're on the journey to begin with.
The holidays can be particularly stressful for the newly sober. As the social events pick up, you may be in need of some tips to remember your ultimate goal.
Read on to learn more about how to stay sober through the holidays and be your best self.
1. Hold a Mocktail
This simple trick avoids a lot of unwanted attention, confrontation, and explanation. It could be your favorite soda, tea, or juice, but the point is that you hold something that looks like a drink.
Even seltzer water with a lime can serve this purpose, and most people will not even notice the difference.
But without a drink, expect many nosy party-goers to exclaim, "Hey, why aren't you drinking?"
The easy solution is just to give the appearance that you are, and avoid the stress.
2. Focus on the Food
The holidays can be a food paradise for many. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is an abundance of sweets and treats.
Allow yourself to indulge in all of your favorite foods, and enjoy the time with your family and friends.
Food can also serve as a great conversation starter since most people can relate to the pleasurable experience that food bring.
Don't feel guilty for treating yourself, and if your hands are full of plates and utensils, you can't hold a drink anyway.
3. If Possible, Serve Yourself
This may be a difficult tip to follow at more formal events, but don't allow others to bring you drinks or order for you.
If you can, make yourself a mocktail instead of anyone else. This is a good tip to follow for those drinking as well.
This also minimizes any judgment from other people that you won't be drinking.
4. Limit Your Time at Parties
There will always be those holiday functions that are a pain to attend. In addition, there will be those functions that you know will be difficult to stay sober at.
You may feel stuck between two bad options - don't go and feel guilty, or go and feel pressured.
One solution to this dilemma is to attend the functions for only one hour. The saying "be an early bird" will come in handy here. Simply show up early, and leave early.
The benefit of this strategy is that you can greet and meet anyone you need to, and leave before people get drunk.
Respect your own boundaries and have a sober or supportive friend help you make the decision to leave when you're ready.
5. Discover New Holiday Activities
Alternative activities and new traditions are a great substitute for typical holiday parties. Other fun activities for family and friends could include volunteering, hiking, camping, or other hobbies.
The holidays don't need to involve drinking, they are supposed to be about spending time with loved ones.
The point is there are many options for other activities outside of the norm, and being sober doesn't have to be a chore for many of these.
6. Have a Support System in Place
Even those that are most committed to their goals need a support system in place to hold them accountable.
Let friends know you are going to party and that you'd like to check-in with them every so often. Better yet, ask a sober friend to come with you and be right next to you at the party.
It gives you someone to stand by and talk you through any difficult situations.
If you are alone, give your sponsor or a close friend a heads up that you will be attending, and don't be afraid to call them if you need to.
7. It's O.K. Not to Publicize Your Sobriety
You don't need to let everyone know about being sober if you don't want to. It's okay to tell a little white lie here and there about why you aren't drinking.
Call it a cleanse or a medication. All that matters is that people respect your decision not to drink.
If someone is giving you a hard time about not drinking, that's their problem and not yours. If they still don't respect decision after you've explained it, just walk away. Chances are if they don't understand, they aren't worth your time.
8. Act like You're Drinking
This, in short, means that you should be yourself. Unapologetically make jokes, and let go of your inhibitions.
You don't need to drink to be social, funny, or to have fun. Being sober can be just as fun if you let go of the idea that alcohol has to be present.
Give yourself permission to loosen up and make connections without the booze. It will be more authentic, and it will get easier.
9. Just Say No
This applies to any situation, whether it be attending an event or taking a drink. Be okay with just saying "no."
There isn't a situation you should compromise sobriety for. If there is a party or outing that you don't feel comfortable attending, just don't.
It may feel difficult to say no, but being sober is more important.
10. Remind Yourself Why
This is key to the entire holiday season. It will no doubt be hard to get through, and you should prepare accordingly.
It's important to have a list of reasons to remain sober with you at all times. Pull it out when temptation strikes. A sobriety chip in your pocket can also help serve this purpose.
Remember why you are doing this and think about all the fond, clear memories you will have tomorrow.
Final Thoughts on Being Sober
This holiday season, stay strong to your sobriety and consider these tips to make being newly sober easy.
The holidays should be full of time with family and friends. This cozy time of year should not be a time of turmoil for those who choose not to drink.
Surround yourself with love and understanding and stay strong to your truth. Your mental and physical health is what matters most.
Check out our blog for more information on staying sober and put yourself first this holiday season.