Tips for Facing the Holidays While Sober

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The holiday season can be a joyful and loving, but also a confusing and sometimes challenging, time of year. For anyone newly in recovery, the season can feel particularly demanding. Navigating everyday life can feel difficult, let alone the holidays. 

This time of year invites overindulgence as pleasure, which is quite the opposite of what sobriety looks like. We may also face complicated dynamics within our family that trigger us or people close to us that don’t respect our boundaries and needs within recovery. The good news is that sobriety is always possible, no matter the circumstance, and there are a few tips to follow that may help during the sometimes turbulent season of joy.

Don’t Forget Your Routine

Routine is vital for any person in recovery at any time. Though sometimes routines and structure may seem mundane, they sit at the core of the healing process. It can be easy to forget throughout all the holiday schedule changes and potential gatherings. Still, it is essential to keep up with the practices that help us stay grounded in our recovery. How we take care of ourselves when we feel “good” is how we learn to take care of ourselves when we feel “bad.” 

Find Joy in New Ways

Though there may be some traditions that we no longer participate in, a big part of holiday joy is celebrating traditions with the people we love the most. One of the greatest, and sometimes most challenging aspects of recovery, is discovering new ways of living our lives and redefining what fun, pleasure and happiness look like. Finding new hobbies, new traditions and new activities to enjoy are all a part of this process. This holiday season, try starting a new tradition with your closest friends or loved ones such as volunteering, decorating your home, baking your favorite dessert for people you love, or exchanging homemade gifts.

Know Your Triggers

One of the most significant gifts we can give to ourselves is recognizing that we are human, and sometimes we will need to step away or create boundaries that may not be very comfortable. If we know that there will be a gathering with a surplus of drinking and/or drug use, or a family member present that particularly triggers us, or a relationship dynamic that is too challenging it is important to note that we are allowed to separate ourselves if we know that it is in the best interest of our sobriety. 

This season, give yourself the gift of maintaining your sobriety.


During recovery, there will always be new challenges that test our sobriety in certain ways. The holiday season, for some, is a particularly challenging time, especially for those of us living in our recovery. You are not alone in your struggle. At Avalon Malibu, we have a dedicated staff with expertise in relapse prevention. We understand that while celebrating the holidays can be joyful, it can also be stressful. If holiday stress is threatening your sobriety, don’t face the challenge alone despite the COVID-19 pandemic. We have implemented safety policies to ensure we keep both our clients and staff safe and healthy. If you or someone you love is struggling with the turbulence of the holiday season, call us today at (844) 857-5992. You deserve to live your best and healthiest life.

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