‘Tis the season to be jolly, but ‘tis is also the season where you may be feeling stressed- especially if you are sober and Black. Black people work and play hard. We take the holidays and our celebrations seriously. Very seriously. We buy our best outfits, get our hair laid and so forth. So it is no surprise when I say that parties, gatherings, and expectations from family and friends can make anyone think about sipping a glass of wine or two. Well if you are committed to staying sober, don’t! We got you. Below are five tips for how to stay sober during this holiday season. We hope it gets you through the next couple of months.
Make a Plan. Be prepared to turn down a drink or an invitation to an event to avoid temptations. Planning ahead for what you will say when offered a drink or turning down a party all together can make staying sober during the holidays less stressful. You do not have to give an explanation for why you do not want drink, a simple “ I’ll have Pepsi” will suffice. If you do attend an event where alcohol will be served, make sure you are able to leave if you start to feel urges or uncomfortable. Attend events with people you trust- they will help you stay accountable.
Spend time with people who support your sobriety. Don’t be afraid to reach out and make plans with family and friends who support your sobriety. The holidays are a time to gather with your loved ones and make memories. If you don’t have friends or family around, attend local sober events through Meetup.com. Meeting new people may feel awkward at first, but you will be in the position to build new and lasting relationships.
Create new traditions. Instead of doing the same old, same old, create new traditions. Host your own sober party or game night; visit a museum you’ve never been to; go ice skating; watch the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting- the list of sober holiday activities are truly endless.
Exercise. There are proven correlations between exercise and sobriety. Exercise releases endorphins to the body, creating a natural high. Join your local gym, take a five minute walk in your neighborhood- not only will you feel good, you will feel accomplished.
Never forget. Whether you are trying to improve your health or beat an addiction, never forget why you decided to get sober. If you haven’t already, you should write your reason(s) and carry it with you at all times. I have a list of reasons why I decided to get sober in my notes application on my phone. Whenever I am feeling tempted, I read it to myself. It helps.
Spending the holidays sober is challenging, but understand that it is possible and rewarding. This past Thanksgiving was my first official sober holiday. I woke up nervous AF, but the feeling disappeared once I arrived to my cousin’s house. We began to eat, talk and play games. Time went by fast, and the thought of alcohol didn’t cross my mind once. I felt happy and accomplished, and I want you to feel the same.
May your holidays be full of happiness, warmth and cheer.