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The holiday season is meant to be a joyous time to celebrate with family and friends. Yet many celebrations include alcohol, and for those who are abstaining from alcohol, parties and gatherings can be especially challenging. In addition, visitors, family gatherings, extra expenses, and end-of-year pressures at work can lead to additional stress—and urges to drink.

But experts say that with some planning and self care, it is possible to maintain your sobriety and enjoy the holidays alcohol-free:

  • holiday-mocktailFind a favorite non-alcoholic drink and don’t be afraid to ask for it. People who don’t imbibe can feel left out of the party when it comes to drink choices, but there are plenty of options that say “celebration” without the booze:
  • Start new traditions or look for new ways to celebrate. If past holidays involved alcohol, doing the same activities can trigger a desire to drink. Creating a new, alcohol-free tradition can support your sobriety and keep you on the right path.
  • Identify potential sources of holiday stress and make a plan to cope—without a drink. Good options include exercise, taking time for yourself, and talking with a supportive friend or professional.
  • Remember it is okay to walk away. If a situation or setting is creating an urge to drink, give yourself permission to say your goodbyes early.
  • Embrace your role as the designated driver. Make your sobriety a gift to your friends and family by ensuring they get home safely after a celebration.
For more tips and information on holiday drinking, visit the Sober Days for the Holidays Resource Center.
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Alison Betts

Alison Betts

Alison Betts has over 15 years of experience as a communications professional and researcher in corporate, nonprofit, and high education settings. Betts joined AMS in 2013 and is currently a Senior Manager of Marketing & Public Relations. Prior to coming to AMS, she held research and teaching positions at universities in Arizona and Colorado. Betts has also served as a public relations professional and grant writer in the nonprofit sector, where she saw first-hand the devastating impact of alcohol and substance abuse on families and communities. Betts holds an MA in English from the University of Colorado and a Master’s in Applied Communications from the University of Denver.

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