Managing the Holidays Without Alcohol

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The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is meant to be a joyous time to celebrate with family and friends. Yet many of those celebrations include alcohol, and for those who are abstaining from alcohol, parties and gatherings can be especially challenging. In addition, visitors, family gatherings, extra expenses, and end-of-year pressures at work can lead to additional stress—and urges to drink.

But it is possible to enjoy the holidays alcohol-free:

  • Find a favorite non-alcohol drink and don’t be afraid to ask for it. People who don’t imbibe can feel left out of the party when it comes to drink choices, but there are plenty of options that say “celebration” without the booze:
  • Start new traditions or look for new ways to celebrate. If past holidays involved alcohol, doing the same activities can trigger a desire to drink. Creating a new, alcohol-free tradition can support your sobriety and keep you on the right path.
  • Identify potential sources of holiday stress and make a plan to cope—without a drink. Good options include exercise, taking time for yourself, and talking with a supportive friend or professional.
  • Embrace being the designated driver. Make your sobriety a gift to your friends and family by ensuring they get home safely after a celebration. 
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