Your holiday hacks for sobriety this season are all about planning ahead. Yes, holidays in general are a time for joy and celebration with your loved ones. In theory… However, if you are in recovery, holiday times may trigger you in a number of different ways. Family dysfunction can cause angst, memories of drunk or high holidays from the past can be unsettling, or maybe you don’t have a safe family to spend time with and that in itself is sad.

Your new lifestyle gives you tools to succeed

It’s possible to prevent relapse, but you just MUST have a plan in place to avoid falling back into old behaviors and habits. So, here are 5 hacks to avoid a holiday relapse.

Top 5 holiday hacks for sobriety this season

1. Recovery Kit

Prepare a recovery kit before joining your family’s festivities. Have your sponsor and sober friends/community on alert that you might be calling for help during the family gathering. Get a new recovery book Have useful or entertaining reading or watching materials easily accessible too so you can escape for a few minutes and get a mini-mind break.

2. Find meetings before you go

Meeting makers make it! If you go somewhere and attend a meeting, you will keep your focus on your goal. A meeting allows you to escape the old situations and broken dynamics that used to hold you hostage. Just tell them, “I’m going to a meeting and will be back later.” Then walk out. Don’t wait for a response. Find online meetings if getting to a face-to-face is too inconvenient. In The Rooms is a great website with online meetings and most 12 step groups have meetings online you can find through their website.

3. Arrive early. Leave early.

Most often, drugs and alcohol use at any party become more prevalent as the party wears on. Do not worry that by leaving early you will offend the host. In most cases, they are too busy to notice who leaves when.


Bring your own beverage. This way, you have control over what you drink. Also, do not justify or explain your healthy new behavior. This invites push back and criticism. If you are pushed, there are plenty of health issues that could be used to explain why you can’t drink alcohol right now. Need a funny excuse? Check out these excuses not to drink…

5. Plan B

Always have a plan B. If you feel uncomfortable, or feel the pressure to use, you can leave! Text a friend and ask them to call you so you can say something came up, or tell the host you’re suddenly not feeling well. Remember, you always have the right to choose what constitutes a safe environment. It is not the host’s responsibility to keep you sober or provide a trigger-free atmosphere. The responsibility lies on your shoulders, and you CAN do it.

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Leslie Glass

Leslie Glass became a recovery advocate and co-founder of Reach Out Recovery in 2011, encouraged by her daughter Lindsey who had struggled with substances as a teen and young adult. Learning how to manage the family disease of addiction with no roadmap to follow inspired the mother and daughter to create Reach Out Recovery's website to help others experiencing the same life-threatening problems. Together they produced the the 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World of Recovery, and the teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, distributed by American Public Television. In her career, Leslie has worked in advertising, publishing, and magazines as a writer of both fiction and non fiction. She is the author of 9 bestselling crime novels, featuring NYPD Dt.Sgt. April Woo. Leslie has has served as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education and as a Trustee of the New York City Police Foundation. For from 1990 to 2017, Leslie was the Trustee of the Leslie Glass Foundation. Leslie is a proud member of Rotary International.

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