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Readers Respond: How Do You Avoid Drinking During the Holidays?

Responses: 53


Updated September 22, 2012

The holiday season can present all kinds of temptations and triggers for those who are trying to stay clean and sober. As others celebrate the season with alcohol at parties and family gatherings in can be difficult to not give in. How do you avoid drinking during the holidays? What tips can you give to those facing their first sober New Year? Share Your Tips

Staying sober

I came across this site looking for help but decided after 13 years of being sober I might be able to help someone instead. I've been under great stress lately and thought about hitting the bottle to numb myself. I haven't fallen off the wagon so far and it makes me feel good about myself. The way I avoid drinking is to first remember only the bad times from drinking. The shakes, the headaches, the blackouts, the embarrassing moments....... I also tell myself that I will not let anyone drive me to drink because I'm stronger than that. For those of you that are in the early stages of being sober it is not easy but it does get easier the longer you go. Never think you can have one drink because you conquered alcoholism. Been there, done that. You will fall. Keep busy the first couple of months to take your mind off drinking. When you are around others that are drinking tell yourself you will be the only one to remember the event clearly and you will wake up headache free.
—Guest guest jl

Holidays not so bad

My husband and I went away for 2 weeks. I had been sober for a month, was dreading going away. First holiday ever sober so didn't know how I would handle it. It wasn't as bad as I thought. We still went out for dinner, I had a coke. We caught up with friends, I had a coke. It was ok. I am still sober 70 days later. It can be done. Don't need alcohol to have a good time.
—Guest Angelina

This is hard

I've read a lot of peoples struggles on this website, and I will be back. (already am). I read a lot of you are just like me. It makes me sad right now. People think just quit! Why can't you just quit? I'm almost 27 hours sober. Off from a 6 day binge. It means a lot to see so many of you share what I've gone through. But it's time to stop. Medically I am noticing issues, and so is my doctor. I hope someone kind find the time to call or write me. I've always figured I had to do this myself. But I'm seeing now, I shouldn't. Withdraw symptoms suck! But I've quit before, I hope I can do it again, and this time for good. A lot of people worry about me, and that saddens me.
—Guest Nykky


No matter how hard it seems to get through New years eve party , Don´t drink, don´t take any pills , or smoke any kind of drugs, you will feel better with yourself and your loved ones will fell better as well, remember everything in this life is impermanent , when things get difficult keep in mind that hard emotions and moments will come to and end, in your mind may seems forever , it is not , just enjoy your life

Fighting the Urge

Nov 7th 2014 at 20:31. The best decision I ever made is now being over-analysed. I'm fighting temptation and winning. Traditionally Xmas, was my time of the year. No work for 2 weeks, plenty of family to use as an excuse for a drink, carve a potato "have a drink", dice a carrot "have a drink", pour someone else a drink "have a drink myself". I came clean with my family and they have all committed to a sober Xmas with me. For this I am truly thankful. My head is in turmoil at the moment, I want so much to get through this period, and with sites like this, it will be achievable. To all fellow contributors I truly hope you have the strength to get through this period and to continue you journey through the coming year. God Bless.
—Guest HappyJP

Plan first

I was given very good advice my first sober Christmas. If I go to a gathering, I drive myself, and go late. Once I get a drink of soda or juice in my hand, I never set it down. If something happens and I do set it down, I get a new drink. I leave early, but also leave anytime I get uncomfortable.
—Guest Arlene

My advice..

is stay away from alcohol events till you get some time in. Find something pleasurable to do, find a holiday meeting and gathering. When felt could attend always drove myself so I could leave when I needed to.
—Guest linda c

My thoughts

* Breathe * Keep focus in your body , not your thoughts. * Name 3 qualities you admire for each person you interact with. * Imagine yourself drunk and how that would impact on them. * Remember that it's just another day. Only our made up calendar makes it mean something. Think of the virtues that are celebrated at this time. If you're reading this and know that alcohol is an issue for you. ....it means there's a better version of you wanting to be allowed in. Otherwise you would just be at the pub , right? Let that part of you out . Now is a good time. We all love positive feedback, and if your drinking has been an issue for those you're spending time with, lack of negative feedback, lack of embarrassing feedback, lack of those you love distancing themselves. Well, tell me that's not worth a bit of mindful self control.
—Guest The Happy Earthling

Think about the people you love.

Chances are your drinking has affected them more than anyone else in your life. They work hard all year and deserve to relax without worrying how you are or are not going to handle yourself. It's giving time. Compassion. Temperance. Time to honor the ones who support you no matter what .
—Guest Rainbow Warrior


I avoid people places & things that trigger me. The grocery stores are bad at New Years. The displays of champagne look inviting. But if it was 2am on New Year's Eve I'd likely be falling into a display. There was just never enough. There was nothing sophisticated about how I drank. Family issues & loneliness trigger me. As a faith based person, I can rely on my spiritual community & friends to spend time with & minimize family. Everyone hang in, better days are ahead if we stay clean & sober.
—Guest Pins

I just quit

I was drinking 2-3 double martinis every nite..not blind drunk but getting there. I realized I was an alcoholic and dependent. I got up Monday 18 days ago and told myself. No more. With Gods help .
—Guest Ray

Drinking During Holidays

I quit drinking 13 years ago, and what I found helped was having a plan for each day. If you don't have a plan you'll end up with time on your hands, and you'll be vulnerable to giving way. It should be a priority for every addict, at the end of a day to have a schedule for the next day. It also helps with self-discipline which is another addict failing - at least it was in my case. What milestones says is exactly right. My own experiences are on alcoholhelper.org if anyone's interested.

To all in recovery

Sober just over two years and had my third vacation sober this week. Its not easy for me but i do find myself doing things on holiday i would never had done before simply because no drinking was involved. I also people watch and train my mind to watch exactly was is happening. I see a guy, gets a beer, is talking to his partner. He takes 10,15 maybe 20 minutes to drink it. He drinks it like its nice ,but i can take it or leave it and indeed when he left the table he left a mouthful.Then later i spot a woman who who drinks like the old me. While her partner sips a mineral water she downs four glasses of wine in under 15 minutes . Its not just the speed but the way she consumed the alcohol compared to the man with the beer. i am sure anyone who has abused alcohol will know what i am highlighting. I have to remind myself that an ice cold beer would be lovely on a hot sunny day but one would be too much and ten would probably not be enough. I also enjoy the freedom of being alcohol free.
—Guest jacobs

Today only

My suggestion not focusing on holidays but just today. By looking at holidayS, you're getting away of One Day At A Time. I know holiday periods are a distraction but I basically do on any holiday exactly what I do on any other day of the year - ask God to help me stay sober that day and then don't take a drink. Go to a meeting if you can. Keeping it simple!
—Guest Jimmy

enjoy it more

My first couple of tries getting sober went wrong when I went on holiday. The last couple of holidays I have focused on having a better time sober than I ever did drunk. This has included taking up golf, trying new foods, going scuba diving spending the money I used to spend on wine on other nicer things. The plan worked and I have come back having had a great time, better than coming home feeling hung over and ashamed:)
—Guest Raven

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How Do You Avoid Drinking During the Holidays?

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