Staying sober during the holiday season can be a daunting and trying task, requiring a steadfast commitment to one’s health and wellbeing. According to reports, the average American will consume double the amount of alcohol as usual between the Thanksgiving and New Year period (1). These studies raise concerns as individuals attending holiday season celebrations may be in recovery from alcohol addiction. Another study found that these individuals were more likely to relapse during this time of the year (2).
Individuals that wish to pursue sobriety during the festivities need all the help that they can get, and this article provides some beneficial tips on how to skip drinking alcohol this holiday season.
1. Plan Ahead and Prep
Planning and preparing for the eventuality that you will feel peer pressured to drink alcohol, is essential. Studies report that social and cultural pressures influence alcohol consumption among individuals (3). Furthermore, being adequately prepared is critical to the odds of achieving any goal. For example, sports teams plan strategies to beat their opponents, fitness enthusiasts prepare meal plans to achieve their goals quicker, and job candidates compose answers to common questions before an interview.
When planning for the holiday season celebrations, keep the following things in mind:
- What is the reason that you do not want to drink?
- Why is that reason important to you?
- How will you go about achieving your goal of not drinking?
- Who will help you stay on track to achieve your goal?
- Where can you go if you are not able to cope with the pressure?
Your answers to these questions will help you craft a clear strategy on how to skip drinking alcohol this holiday season.
2. Bring Someone Along as Support
Having a support system is critical to sobriety. Rehabilitation programs typically involve communities of individuals recovering from addiction, as having others with the same experience come together allows individuals to support one another in their lifelong journey of sobriety. The same goes for attending holiday season celebrations, as it is easy to steer clear of the alcohol when you have a ‘buddy’ supporting you along the way.
It would be in your best interest to find a friend or family member who does not drink alcohol, as they will not provide any pressure to drink whatsoever. In fact, they will provide a voice of reason when the going gets tough and you are on the verge of succumbing to societal and cultural pressures. If you are reading this, and are a friend of someone who wishes to sustain their sobriety, you can check out many online resources on how to help a friend recovering from drug or alcohol addiction (4).
3. Stay Festive With Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Contrary to popular belief, one does not need to consume alcohol to have a good time. In fact, staying sober can have many beneficial impacts on the brain. Authority sources suggest that quitting alcohol can balance dopamine levels, increase serotonin production, and support frontal lobe regeneration (5). All of these benefits are linked with improved feelings of happiness, contrasting the popular belief that alcohol is needed to have fun. While it may be difficult to stay festive during the holiday season without consuming alcohol with others at the get-togethers, you can join in on the celebrations with non-alcoholic drinks. Be sure to stow a few non-alcoholic beverages in a cooler bag so that you can still feel a part of the toasts and excitable occasions.
4. Be the Designated Driver
Giving yourself the role of designated driver gives you a purpose for staying away from alcohol this holiday season. It’s also handy to use as an excuse when a well-meaning friend or relative offers you a drink. As a side benefit, you’re able to do a great favor for your friends so that they can drink responsibly. It’s a win-win!
5. Have an Exit Strategy
Sometimes it is just too difficult for recovering addicts or individuals wishing to avoid drinking to be around others that are consuming alcohol. When you are self-aware enough to recognize when you need to leave a situation, it’s imperative to have a clear exit strategy. Make sure to either have your own mode of transportation or the ability to take public transport so that you are not stuck somewhere you don’t want to be. Having clear boundaries about when you need to leave will help your friends and family understand how important it is for you to stick to your health goals.
Your Takeaway for This Holiday Season
The holiday season brings up a lot of intense emotions. No matter who you are or where you are in life, it’s important to stay grounded and remain true to yourself as emotions cloud your usual view of the world. Passing on alcohol this holiday season is one way to help yourself. Other ways include taking charge of your diet and/or creating a new exercise regimen. Whatever you do, trust Approved Science® to help you meet your health goals!