a 5 Tips For Staying Healthy and Sober This Holiday Season - Wellness and Wisdom

5 Tips For Staying Healthy and Sober This Holiday Season


In addition to the joy of togetherness and spirit of generosity, many understand the holiday season to be synonymous with elevated levels of stress, flooding of unwelcomed emotions and impossibly high standards. Add trying to stay sober to the mix, and there is a potential recipe for holiday blues and resentments if you don’t adequately prepare for the bumpy road ahead. With realistic expectations and proper preparation, there is no reason why the holidays have to be chock-full of uninvited difficulties.


Plan ahead: The holiday season comes around every year, right on schedule, so plan ahead for potential triggering events and make a game plan before they happen.



  • Are there individuals or holiday events that are not healthy options for maintaining sobriety?

  • What interpersonal boundaries do you need to enforce and maintain and with whom?

  • Do you benefit more from structure or spontaneity in your schedule?

  • What personal triggers can you expect and what’s your plan for concurring them?

  • Have there been other holidays when you maintained your sobriety? What worked then?


Increase accountability: Hold yourself accountable towards your goal of sobriety.



  • If you are comfortable with divulging your sober status to family and friends who you will see this holiday season, they can help hold you accountable.

  • Figure out what you’re comfortable with saying and stick with it. It’s a win/win situation: You feel empowered by owning your feelings and they feel connected by you sharing.


Connect with your support system: Without other people involved, friends, family or fellowship, the battle is unnecessarily more difficult and unpredictable.


You’re not in this alone. Go to a meeting. If AA or NA are not your things, find an alternative sober support group in your area.


If you need individual time to process what’s going on, make an appointment with a therapist to get back on track and grounded.


Maybe you need more structured and frequent support and want to try a Relapse Prevention or Intensive Outpatient (IOP) group.


Maintain realistic expectations: You’ve got a lot on your plate, and adding unnecessarily high holiday expectations isn’t going to help anyone.


Give yourself a break. You’re doing the best that you can. Few things in life go as perfectly as planned, and the holidays are no exception. Practice acceptance.


Expand self-care: As with any trying time, remember that you can ease the discomfort by incorporating additional life-enhancing activities into your schedule.



  • What healthy pastimes lighten your mood and make you feel good?

  • Expanding self-care can be as simple as going on a walk and appreciating the outdoors, enjoying your favorite meal, taking a hot, relaxing bath, or making time to start that book you’ve been wanting to read forever.


With a realistic and personalized relapse plan, emotional support and accountability, and incorporated self-care strategies, the stress and chaos of the holidays can melt away, leaving you to enjoy the season and focus on gratitude and continued recovery.





Blog post written by: Emily Keefer, LCDC, LMSW -Dual Diagnosis therapist at Sage Recovery and Wellness Center in Austin, TX.


If you or a loved one needs support during a stressful time like the holidays, let the Sage team help prevent a relapse. The Relapse Prevention Program caters to individuals who have been in recovery and understand effective coping skills, but are displaying relapse warning signs or need extra support due to stressful life events. This group meets 2 days per week for 4 weeks. We also have other outpatient programs that offer a different level of care and a la carte services. Read more at http://sagerecoveryaustin.com/our-services/  or give us a call 512-306-1394 for a no-obligation FREE assessment and we'll provide a tailored treatment plan that works for you. We serve adults and adolescents in Austin, Texas at our outpatient facility located in Westlake area of Austin, TX.

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