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Are you sober and single, and facing the opening of holiday celebrations after the long pandemic siege? Are you dreading the holidays because this may be your first sober season? The holidays are always challenging both for the sober curious, the newly sober, and the sober and single groups, but we have some tips on how to stay sane and happy without risking a relapse.

If you were newly sober last year when so many parties were canceled, you didn’t have to make excuses about why you weren’t drinking, or cringe when colleagues asked you the dreaded questions about why you don’t drink and why you’re still single. So annoying. But the partying is back and the good news is that you can still avoid most holiday celebrations this year if you want to. That might provide some relief from the pressure of explaining your life.

Sober When Your Family Drinks

We know how painful it is when you’re struggling with sobriety and your family is still drinking the holidays away. It’s no fun. And they may encourage you to drink even if they know how important your sobriety is to you. So, if you return home for family events, everyone is still be drinking there, it’s a constant reminder of what you can’t do. Being single on the holidays can make it even harder. It appears that everyone is connected and having fun. They’re not. Now’s the time you need some sober inspiration to stay on track.

14 ways to be safe and happy when you’re single and sober

  1. Create a sobriety plan. Write yourself a letter telling yourself why you want to stay sober. You can journal about the past. You can remind yourself of the wreckage. You can talk about the benefits of your life in recovery. Just get it out — what you need to do to be all right, right now.
  2. Stay connected with your sponsor, or get one who can be there for you when you’re in a predicament. This is general.
  3. Meditate. If you are new to it, try online guided meditations, apps, or sound baths. Even a few minutes of measured breathing can create a calm space in your head.
  4. Help someone else who is alone. When you reach out to someone else who is alone or struggling, there is a multiplier effect. You feel better and so does the person(s) you touch. Helping is the most powerful tool for recovery and personal growth.
  5. Enjoy seasonal things–winter nature, holiday movies, specialty foods, decorations, etc.
  6. Bring your own beverages if you are attending anything where you’re not sure you can get a zero proof drink. You can even bring a fancy glass for your own mock cocktail. I do.
  7.  Have a person you can call if you feel unsafe. This can be a sponsor, or sober friend. You can feel unsafe at family parties, too. God knows people continue to think you can have just one. Safety is feeling okay, not threatened, not teased or encouraged to drink.
  8. Opt out of anything that is only about drinking. Covid-19 is the perfect excuse to NOT attend anything that may be happening this year.
  9. Write a gratitude list of people in your family you have to spend time with even if they make you crazy. What do you like about them, instead of what you dislike. Positive feelings create better relationships and more fun.
  10.  Read a new recovery book to start the year off right.
  11. Avoid family members who have hurt you. You don’t have to be with anyone who causes you pain.
  12. Celebrate your sobriety with a gift to yourself.
  13. Volunteer anywhere. Helping others help you.
  14. Start a new holiday tradition.

How To Quit Drinking

Single and sober new holiday tradition

Have a safe, socially distant, potluck dinner. Share experiences about a family gathering or work-related party.  You’re guaranteed to laugh and cry, and sympathize and feel the fellowship of others who are just like you.

Also check out

How to stop binge drinking

Problematic Drinking

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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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