How to Enjoy the Holidays While Sober

For a lot of people, the thought of celebrating the holidays without alcohol is incomprehensible. How will you relax and enjoy yourself? More to the point, how will you deal with the in-laws when you don’t have adult grape juice to take the edge off?

Whether you’re newly sober or simply want to end off the year on a healthier note, avoiding alcohol when everyone else is indulging can be a tricky path to navigate.

First, there’s dealing with everyone else’s reactions to your sober intentions. Typically, people don’t enjoy being in the company of a teetotaler, as it highlights their own bad habits. And second, we’re often our own worst enemy when it comes to sticking to our goals.

You Need a ‘Sober Holidays’ Game Plan 

stay sober during the holidays

Enjoying the Holidays while sober is definitely possible. It might be tough at times, but there are plenty of strategies you can employ to ensure you make it through the silly season with nothing stronger than a glass of OJ in your hand.

Know Your Why

Knowing ‘why’ you want to stay sober will help you stay on the wagon when the going gets wobbly. Kate Bee, creator of The Sober School, put together a list of 15 reasons why you’ll love life without alcohol.

Figure out what you’ll really love about not drinking (losing the muffin top was my big motivator) and write it down on some stickies. Then put those stickies on the bathroom mirror, on your car’s dash, in your purse, etc. to serve as little reminders. Having your ‘why’ front of mind will help when you feel your willpower draining.

Decide on a Time-Frame and Start Date

Are you just quitting alcohol for a month, until the end of the year or for good? Knowing the duration of your commitment is key, as it’ll help you adjust your mindset accordingly. It’s equally important to decide on a start date that’s at least a week in the future. This will give you time to mentally prepare yourself for the task at hand.

What to Do at the Party

By ‘party’ I mean any social event where you’d ordinarily drink, such as Thanksgiving, the end of year office lunch and New Year’s Eve. Recovering addict, Erin Bahadur, has some helpful strategies to ensure you stay sober.

She suggests limiting your time at holiday functions to avoid dealing with intoxicated revellers, always having a drink in your hand so you don’t have to ward off over-enthusiastic hosts and my personal favorite, enjoy some guilt-free eating to keep your hands occupied.

Remember Your Why

The idea of quitting alcohol may seem boring, but that’s only because you’re in the habit of drinking. Life in the sober lane is not only a lot more fun, it’s also really rewarding, easy on the wallet and better for your overall wellbeing.

When you’re really in the mood for a drink it’s easy to think about the good times associated with alcohol. It’s a confidence booster after all, so you feel more comfortable in your own skin.

You need to move past the fun memories and remind yourself how bad you feel when you wake up with a hangover or how easy it is to blow your budget on a single night out. Remember your ‘why’ and staying sober will be, maybe not easy, but easier. Especially when you start noticing all the great things that happen to your body when you give up booze.

9 Smoothies Perfect for the Holiday Season
4 Tricks to Outsmart the Winter Blues
10 Vegan Holiday Main Dishes

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Danii P
Danii P2 months ago

thank you for sharing!

Freya H
Freya H2 months ago

Alcohol-free holidays? You have got to be kidding. Nothing wrong with drinking responsibly. Indeed, booze is the only thing that gets me through the winter holidays.

Mike R
Mike R2 months ago


Mike R
Mike R2 months ago


Mike R
Mike R2 months ago


Mia G
Mia G2 months ago


Anna R
Anna R3 months ago

Thank you for sharing

Chad A
Chad Anderson3 months ago

Thank you!

Kimberly W
Kimberly Wallace3 months ago


John W
John W3 months ago

Why do Americans call wine 'adult grape juice'?
Seems unnecessarily long-winded. Also, don't people drink beer, cider, spirits, etc too?
Wouldn't alcoholic beverages cover it?