For most people, the holidays are a time of joy and celebration. However, many experience anxiety throughout the holiday season, especially those who are staying sober or are in recovery. Alcohol flows freely at many December parties and get-togethers, and the temptation to give in and have a drink can be overwhelming.
Maintaining your recovery in the holiday months can be difficult, which is why it’s important to remind yourself of why you chose to become sober. Your first sober holiday season will likely be the hardest, but staying sober becomes easier the longer you do it. By getting through your first holiday without drinking, you’ll prove to yourself that you’re able to overcome this yearly challenge.
When it seems like you’re about to give in, you must remember why sobriety is important to you. To give you an idea of what to think about, here’s a list of the many benefits you’ll receive by staying sober throughout the holidays.
1. You don’t have to worry about embarrassing yourself at holiday parties
Alcohol loosens people up, often making us act in ways we normally wouldn’t. If you’ve ever woken up and cringed about your alcohol-fueled antics from the night before, you no longer have to worry. By cutting alcohol out of the equation, you can rest assured that you won’t be doing anything to humiliate yourself or others. Regretful holidays are a thing of the past, and peace can truly be yours this season.
2. You won’t risk getting a DUI
Holidays usually mean traveling, and driving after having even a few alcoholic beverages can end your holidays on a sour note: You’ll be in jail for driving under the influence (DUI). On top of thousands of dollars in legal fees, you’ll likely lose your license and have a permanent mark on your criminal record. By not drinking, you prevent any of these situations from occurring. You also won’t have to wonder after having a few drinks, “Am I sober enough to drive yet?”
3. You’re able to remember precious moments with loved ones
Binge drinking can lead to short-term memory loss, or “blackouts.” If you used to drink too much at holiday parties or gatherings, chances are that your memories about these events are more than a bit foggy. By staying sober, you can ensure that the memories you create over the holidays can be remembered and cherished forever.
4. You save a ton of money
Your bank account is going to look a lot better this year because you won’t be spending so much of your resources on alcohol. You’ll save money by staying sober, which will add to your savings (and holiday budget!). Instead of spending money on drinking, you can buy gifts for the people who matter most in your life.
5. No hangovers
A hangover can waste your entire day — a day that might have otherwise been spent with the people you love. By skipping the hangovers, you don’t have to miss out on fun things like decorating the Christmas tree, baking, cooking or helping out at community centers. You will be able to wake up and feel great every single morning.
6. You get an early start on the New Year’s resolution of being healthier and happier
Many people make resolutions to get sober or improve their health. If you’re sober, you’re already ahead of the curve! You can instead focus your resolutions on reaching bigger goals for next year without worrying about drinking getting in your way.
7. You become an example to others around you
Though some may question why you aren’t partaking in the drinking festivities, you’d be surprised how much people will respect you for it. Particularly during the holidays when you’re visiting with so many people, being an example for sobriety is honorable and will silently send messages to those who may need to hear it. People may even turn to you for help with their resolution of getting sober!
8. Your relationships grow stronger
The holidays are a time of connection, love and gratitude. When you’re sober, you grow stronger bonds with family and friends. If these people have seen you at your worst, they’ll now be able to see the effort you’re putting into improving yourself.
9. Sobriety is something you can be proud of and thankful for
Holidays are a time to count your blessings. Sobriety is a part of you that should be treasured, as it proves that you can manage life without using mind-altering substances. If you are in recovery, your sobriety shows that you are making an effort to heal physically and emotionally, even when times are tough. You are taking care of yourself and that is something you can thank yourself for every day.
10. You get to stay true to yourself and still enjoy the holidays
Alcohol can loosen people up, so you might be afraid that you’re missing out on social interaction by not drinking. However, your presence is the greatest present. People invite you to events because they want you there, regardless of whether you’re drinking or not. Though it can feel uncomfortable at first, it’s a huge confidence boost to get through the holidays without drinking — it proves that you can do things without alcohol! You’ll become more comfortable having fun without needing to drink, and being yourself will become second nature once again.