sober holidays

What to Expect During Your First Sober Holidays

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Holidays can be difficult for anyone. Add into the usual difficulties the fact that you’re trying to stay sober. The dresses and chaos of the season can cause you to feel even more overwhelmed than you may already feel. There are things that can be expected during this time of year that may feel hopeless to get through. However, it is possible. You can stay sober. You can get through the season sober, especially if you know what to expect during your first sober holidays.

Things to Expect When it’s Your First Sober Holiday

With the end of the year fast approaching, it is expected that holiday parties will be in full effect. It is a reasonable expectation to have alcohol present at these functions. Being prepared for the feelings and thoughts that may happen during these parties is important to making it through them sober. Knowing that staying sober is vital. The holidays can be a pivotal moment during early recovery, and being as prepared as possible can be a weapon you can use to stay sober, regardless of the feelings that may arise.


It is expected that you may begin to feel uncomfortable in social situations involving alcohol and family. It can be a possibility that up until this point you have avoided family functions where alcohol may be served. These parties and family gatherings could be your first encounter with your nemesis since your decision to get sober. This can fill you with anxiety, but staying sober through these feelings is not only crucial, it is possible. Contact with sober supports can help to reassure you that these feelings will pass.


Having drinks handed to you during parties to celebrate the holidays may have been a staple in the past. However, choosing to get sober does not mean temptations do not arise and try to throw you off the path you’ve chosen. The thoughts of drinking may creep in, and tell you that you can have just one. Anyone in recovery with some time sober can tell you this is a lie. Alcoholism can be managed, and gotten under control, but once that first drink is taken, there’s no telling the repercussions and how you may react mentally and physically to that one drink. Using the tools you have learned in recovery thus far will be your saving grace through these moments.


The holidays are naturally a stressful time. The hustle and bustle of trying to plan get-togethers, travel to see family, buying gifts and spreading yourself thin can be difficult for anyone. In recovery, you are taught to manage stress so it isn’t detrimental to your progress. This is a time to implement those stress management techniques so you can stay sober. These tools you’ve been taught were meant to help you get through anything sober, especially during this season.


It goes without saying that the holidays are an emotional time, the good feelings associated with the nostalgia of past holidays can be undercut by feelings of shame and guilt from the things that have occurred during active addiction. These feelings aren’t abnormal. However, the way you react to them can determine your ability to maintain sobriety. Turning back to the thing that caused the behaviors that led to shame and guilt is counterproductive, right?


When it has been a staple during past holidays to have drinks and to potentially be the “problem” of the gathering, when you aren’t drinking, there may be questions that arise from friends and family. It is okay to not answer any questions you are not comfortable answering. It is perfectly acceptable to walk away from any uncomfortable situation to protect yourself. Divulge as much information as you wish. And if all else fails, all that needs to be said is that you don’t want to drink.

It Gets Easier

The moments of discomfort during family functions at this time of year can seem overwhelming. It may feel as though you may not be able to cope with and fight them. However, after the first year you make it through the holidays sober, it can be used as fuel to combat these same exact feelings in the future. Use your recovery and sobriety to your advantage.

Getting and staying sober is a challenge in early recovery, but the process of recovery teaches you how to maintain your sobriety at all costs, and how to make it through future dealings without turning to alcohol as a solution. With time, staying sober becomes easier, almost second nature. The temptations fade away, and one day you won’t even think about drinking when things are overwhelming or uncomfortable. Just trust the process.

Getting Help in Southern California

If you are concerned with your drinking, seeking help is highly advisable. Here at Ocean Hills we strive to provide the best care possible for those who are under our care. Our team of professionals works everyday to help those struggling. Contact us today and begin the next chapter of your life.

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