For tips 1-20, see 37 Tips to Help You Stay Sober During the Holidays (part 1).
Sober Holidays Tip #21 Bring your own beverage. If a holiday celebration includes the use of alcoholic beverages (such as wine at Passover), make sure in advance that there are substitutes (such as grape juice) for you and anyone else who doesn’t want to drink the harder stuff.
Sober Holidays Tip #22 Stay sober at the party: Don’t go it alone. Bring along an AA buddy or a hired sober companion. Or take someone at the party into your confidence (the host, a friend, even a waiter); candor will serve you better than pride, embarrassment, or guilt. Tell them that you can’t drink, and enlist them as bodyguard. It will make the event easier for you, and will keep you from winding up in a relapse. If you can’t take someone with you, arrange to text with someone throughout the evening. Or make a plan to call your sponsor every hour on the hour. Build in some accountability, however you can.
Sober Holidays Tip #23 Stay sober at the party: Curb resentment. You’re almost sure to run into someone who’ll say, “Do you mind if I have a drink?” Your automatic answer will most likely be “No, I don’t mind.” The truth is you probably do resent it. You’re as good as the other guy. If he can drink, why can’t you? If you feel resentment building, make your excuses and find your sober buddy, slip out to a meeting, or call or text your sponsor. Pull out your phone for a quick check-in with an online meeting or recovery forum. Or head home and immerse yourself in an online meeting.
See Find A Meeting.
Sober Holidays Tip #24 Stay sober at the party: Be ready to leave. Keep your car keys or taxi fare in your pocket. Should you suddenly feel overwhelmed by temptation, leave immediately. Do not try to test yourself.
Sober Holidays Tip #25 Stay sober at the party: Take inventory the next day. The day after you go to an event with alcohol you may well fall into self-pity mode. “Why can’t I have fun like those other people?” Don’t let those feelings and ideas simmer; they can push you right over the edge into a relapse. Plug right back into your recovery program. Call or text your sponsor, double up on meetings, and read recovery literature. Be honest about any feelings that arose from being around the drinking and using scene.
Sober Holidays Tip #26 Try not to stress about holiday gifts and expenses. Try not to worry too much about giving the “right” gifts, or having enough money to buy gifts. For the people who matter, just your love (and your sobriety) will be enough. Really. Try not to get stressed out about spending lots of money on travel and other holiday expenses. Set a budget and stick to it.
Sober Holidays Tips #27 Be ready to return to your regular routine. Schedule time to decompress after travel. Try not to feel let down by a return to the normal old routine. Remember that you have another brand new year to have a wonderful, sober life.
Sober Holidays Tip #28 Stay in touch with sober friends. Make sure your phone is filled with the numbers of AA members and call them frequently to stay in touch.
Sober Holidays Tip #29 Find a meeting! Okay, we’ve said it before. But it bears repeating. Because it works. Find a meeting. If holiday gatherings with family or friends become drinking parties, head for the nearest meeting. No one will miss you and the social drinkers will understand. Many AA clubhouses even have round-the-clock meetings on holidays.
See Find A Meeting.
Sober Holiday Tip #30 Give thanks. Stop by a church or some quiet area like the beach, a lake or a park, and spend a few minutes thanking your Higher Power for your sobriety and your new way of life.
Sober Holidays Tip #32 Reach out to newcomers. Take a newcomer to lunch or dinner and then to a meeting. If you’re a newcomer, take a newer newcomer. If you can’t afford lunch or dinner, how about just coffee?
Sober Holidays Tip #33 Remember your last drink. If the thought of a drink occurs, first think it through. Remember your last drink. Then call your sponsor or AA friend.
Sober Holidays Tip #34 Don’t get hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Don’t let those feelings creep up, no matter how long you’ve been sober. Addiction is cunning, baffling, and powerful. Again, constant watchfulness will help.
Sober Holidays Tip #35 Be sure there is plenty of light in your life. Keep the lights bright at home, try to get out when the sun is shining, light a cheery fire in the fireplace. Winter darkness and drabness can be psychologically (and physiologically) depressing.
Sober Holidays Tip #36 Recite the Serenity Prayer. Often. Make sure you have copies of the Serenity Prayer in your pockets or purse and on your phone. Paste it on the mirrors in your home. Pause for a moment and read it. Repeat.
Sober Holidays Tip #37 Go to a meeting. Yes, another one.