Sober Holidays

When you are in recovery, you can still experience cravings, especially when you encounter triggers. The holidays may make it challenging to maintain sobriety. Alcohol and drugs are a part of countless holiday festivities. Sober holidays can sometimes be a struggle, especially in early recovery. But finding an enjoyable way to celebrate sober holidays can strengthen your recovery. It will also help you maintain your abstinence while enjoying special occasions.

Addiction, substance abuse disorders, and alcoholism are chronic conditions, which is why recovery is a lifelong journey. Although substance abuse disorders are prevalent, impacting as many as 19.7 million Americans each year, addiction can make you feel isolated, alone, and trapped. Sometimes, feelings of hopelessness can make a recovery feel impossible. However, treatment can provide you with the skills, tools, and support you need to achieve long-lasting abstinence.

Holidays and Substance Abuse

Substance abuse disorders are chronic, meaning that even during recovery, you can still be susceptible to cravings. During recovery, one of the most common relapse triggers is stress. Negative emotions, like depression and anxiety, can also increase your risk of relapsing. Many times, family conflicts are also more common during the holidays, which can create a perfect storm of triggers.

Many holidays, like birthdays and New Year’s Eve, typically include plenty of alcohol and parties. When you are recovering from a substance abuse disorder, holiday celebrations can serve as a severe relapse risk. Sometimes, holidays can also be a reminder of past trauma or bad memories, which can make it harder to avoid using substances.

Throughout the recovery process, it is essential to identify potential triggers and implement healthy coping strategies. Having active coping strategies can help prevent relapse during the holiday season. Another great way to support your recovery is to create sober holidays, which allow you to celebrate special events without exposing yourself to alcohol or other substances.

What are Sober Holidays?

Sober holidays are a way you can enjoy special events and occasions without surrounding yourself with alcohol or drugs. Making sober holidays a part of your recovery routine is hugely beneficial.

Sober holidays can include spending time with other friends in recovery, which is also a great idea if you are new to sober holidays. Some ways you can celebrate holidays without imbibing include:

  • Celebrating at an alcohol-free venue, such as a dry bar
  • Spending time with sober family members
  • Hosting a sober holiday party at your home or apartment
  • Going to a 12-step meeting or support group
  • Asking your sponsor or friends in recovery to spend time together on the holidays

Finding Help Today

It may seem hard to have fun during the holidays when you are in recovery. However, sober holidays are the perfect way to celebrate while supporting your recovery. Sometimes, the holiday season can create feelings of depression or anxiety, which is why sober holidays can help you remain clean and avoid relapsing. To find out more about addiction and recovery, or to discuss your treatment options, contact us today.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.