Your Health Seth Stratton | 5 years ago

5 Tips to Socializing Sober Over the Holidays

Getting and staying sober is a challenging task, and doing so during the holidays can be an even greater challenge when alcoholic beverages are often woven into the holiday social scene.

With a little planning, a lot of support and plenty of effort, learning to navigate social settings where alcohol is present can be done – and even enjoyed.

Social and sober? Put a strategy in place:

  1. Branch out. First, find new ways to spend time with friends and family. Think about suggesting events that don’t solely revolve around drinking – like going for coffee or lunch, heading to a museum or catching a concert.
  2. Plan to succeed. When you can’t avoid a drinking event, prepare yourself and decide how you’ll deal with potential temptations. Once you’re there, try keeping a non-alcoholic drink in your hand to make things easier – and to avoid others asking if you’d like another drink. A common practice is ordering a refreshing club soda with lime. If you're at a bar with pool or darts – consider assembling a friendly game with your group.
  3. Don’t stress it. You may feel self-conscious when you’re not drinking at an event where many people are. But it’s probably not as big a deal as you think. “People are more concerned about how they appear to others,” says Jim Brown, director of substance use services at Carolinas HealthCare System. “They’re much less concerned than you think about what you do or don’t drink.”
  4. Talk it out. It’s helpful to be prepared to answer questions and discuss your sobriety, if you’re comfortable doing so. It may feel hard, but it may be freeing to communicate openly rather than keep it a secret. A simple response – “I’m actually no longer drinking” – is typically enough to address questions. Most people will accept and respect your decision.
  5. Know you’re not alone. It may feel like everyone around you is drinking – but take comfort knowing you’re not the only one who’s sober. In fact, 1 out of 2 Americans don’t drink, so you’re far from alone, even if you might feel that way.
Being sober is a lifelong process – and it isn’t always easy.  Everyone is different, but for many, it does get easier to manage over time. Knowing yourself and your specific triggers will help you to create a plan that works best for you, and allow you to lead a fun, full life. All year long, we’re putting sobriety in the spotlight to help shatter the stigma around addiction and inspire people to change their lives. Read and share our stories – and join the conversation – using #ThisIsSober.