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Deck the Halls with Non-Alcoholic Eggnog: Seven Steps to Stay Sober During the Holidays

While it may look different, the holidays can still be plenty joyful and filled with general merriment even without a drink in your hand. It may not be easy, but these seven suggestions should serve as a good start to staying sober during the holidays – from Thanksgiving right on through to the New Year. Come the morning of January 1st, your steadfast and sober self will thank you.

#1 Remember the Reason during the Season

You started on the path to recovery for a reason. It may be more difficult to remember this reason when friends and family start pulling out the liquor during this festive season, so you should start reminding yourself. Leave yourself sticky notes in your car or on your bathroom mirror; meditate on it every morning; talk to yourself about it in the shower; whatever it takes to remind yourself every single day how good it feels to be sober, why you started your recovery in the first place, and how good you’ll feel come January.

#2 Plan Activities

For many families, enjoying Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the time in between is about getting together, sitting around and enjoying each other’s company by talking (and drinking). To escape this trap, try to get up and out. Go to movies, visit museums, attend holiday concerts. The more physical the activity, the better. If the weather turns south, suggest busy indoor activities like board games or cookie decorating. Of course, avoid going overboard and obsessing over a holiday activity schedule – this may just drive your family crazy.

#3 Make a List and Check it Twice

Choose ten people and ask them if you can put them on your “Christmas list” – that is, they will be one of the ten that you call in case of emergency and overt temptation. If you find yourself in a situation that seem insurmountable, give the first person on the list a call. If they aren’t available and don’t pick up, go to the second. Make the list and ask your ten friends or family members well ahead of time – Santa would be proud.

#4 Be Open About Your Recovery

Thankfully, there is not as much of a stigma surrounding recovery as there used to be. If a situation gets awkward or someone is continually offering you drinks, just let them know your situation and that you can’t (literally, cannot) have a drink. More likely than not they’ll respect where you are at.

#5 Don’t Party Like Its 1995

If friends or family start talking about the ‘good old days’, leave the room. This is likely to result in alcohol-induced nostalgia that would not be beneficial to your sober self. For that matter, stay away from places that may place you on a slippery slope. Just because you visit your hometown does not mean you have to hit up all your old haunts.

#6 Make Literal Non-Alcoholic Egg Nog

It may be heavy on the sugar, but recipes like this one make for a great, non-alcoholic alternative to the classic Christmas fare. You get all the cheer and none of the backsliding. Better yet, carry your own water bottle or glass around so you don’t have to keep turning down offers.

#7 Find the Joy in Christmas

It’s not a cliché to say that the holidays are a time for cheer. There are plenty of holiday-related activities to get into that spread Christmas cheer for all to hear: cookie decorating, Christmas movie classics, hot chocolate, ice skating and sledding. All of these keep you warm in heart and in spirit, without the literal spirits.