6 Simple Tips to Stay Sober & Social During the Holidays
The holiday season is in full swing. With that, there is a ton more socializing, gathering and partying happening. Perhaps you’re new to sobriety or this is your first sober holiday season and you’re feeling shaky about how to handle the onslaught of social situations. You’re not alone - it’s totally normal to feel slightly overwhelmed. Doing something for the first time (or the first time in a long time) can feel nerve-racking and you might feel unsure of yourself. First, let me put your mind at ease by saying you can do this! There’s always a first time for everything so like anything else, the first holiday party might feel awkward or foreign but this feeling won’t last forever. You can get through this! Below are some helpful tips to support you through the holiday season!
1) Be Selective
You will likely get a lot of invites for holiday events. You don’t have to say yes to everything! Commit to what feels manageable given your energy, the type of events you’re being asked to attend and the frequency. You are not obligated to go to everything so release that belief immediately. Choose events that you think you’ll enjoy and skip the rest. When we’re tired and stressed out, we’re less likely to make solid decisions supporting our sobriety/recovery so be choosy when it comes to what social events you go to.
2) Just Say No
In the same vein as being selective, get right with saying no. Considering what I wrote above, keep in mind that you don’t have to go to everything and it might not serve you to anyway. It’s okay to say no. You don’t need to explain it or offer anything beyond “Thanks for the invite but I can’t make it this time.” It’s also perfectly okay to change your mind on an event you had previously committed to. If sobriety is your priority and you feel its being challenged by attending so many social events, the answer needs to be no to them. Period. If you’re worried about how people might react to your no, let yourself off the hook; whatever anyone else might be thinking about you not attending isn’t your business anyway AND they probably aren’t spending as much time worrying about it as you think they are. Also, think of saying no to others as a way you can say yes to yourself!
3) Have a Plan
When the time comes to attend an event you said yes to, take a few minutes to figure out what you want it to look like. What AF bevvies are you bringing with you? Are you taking a wingperson? If yes, have you communicated that you’re not drinking and will they support you in this? If no, have you shared this info with the host? When are you arriving and what time do you want to leave by? Do you feel cute and comfortable in your outfit? Okay okay ... so the last one might not seem especially relevant but it’s all part of the experience and creating optimal conditions for your success so think about it!
4) Phone a Friend
Even if you do have a wingperson at the party, it’s always great to have a few others available on speed dial (or group chat), too. Give them a heads up about your plans and ask them to keep their eyes peeled in case you need some extra support in the moment.
5) Have an Exit Strategy
Similar to making a plan for the evening, give yourself permission - in advance - to leave early (or any damn time you want!) should you feel you want to. If it’s your jam, you could also give the host a heads up that you may duck out early or you’re also welcome to ghost the whole dang party, should you feel you need to make a quick exit.
6) Keep Your Priorities Straight
Finally, get SUPER clear on what your priorities are and make decisions that support those priorities fully. This is a practice I encourage my clients to do when we first start working together. In many cases, we (think we) know what our priorities are but often find we make decisions and fill our time with things that aren’t in alignment with that which is most important to us so spend some time getting real clear on these things before making decisions.
PS - now that you’ve made some serious decisions about how and where you’re doing to be spending your time this holiday season, check out this article on having fun while sober. Happy Holidays!