Holidays in the US is always quite the production with high expectations and a need to have the picture perfect holiday experience. Drinking figures heavily in most Holidays celebrations, which can make it a trying time for someone in recovery. If you want to celebrate Holidays this year, here are some ways to do it without endangering your recovery.

Choose your party wisely.

Set yourself up for success by choosing a celebration that will make staying sober easy. If you’ve been invited to a party with people you know will mostly be drinking, it’s probably best to politely decline. Look for a party where you can have fun without drinking. Family oriented gatherings usually aren’t quite as boozey. Big public celebrations like parades can be good in the right context. If crowds trigger your anxiety, though, it’s probably best to stick to smaller venues rather than trying to squeeze into a big city parade. Try to attend celebrations where you know the people and know what to expect.

Bring a sober friend.

Whenever you attend a party or other celebration where alcohol is available, it’s a good idea to bring along a sober friend. You want someone who can keep you accountable if you start to feel tempted. Having a friend along also makes you less anxious and self-conscious. You don’t feel like you need a drink or two to talk to new people, or to not look weird standing by yourself. Be willing to be the sober friend for someone else going to a party she’s not totally sure of.

Have an escape plan.

You definitely don’t want to be stuck in a situation where you feel tempted, stressed, or anxious. Know how you can get away from a party that has turned out to be more of a donnybrook than you expected. This is especially true if you decide to attend a Holidays parade, since the parking situation, the parade routes, and the dense crowds can be challenging to navigate. Know ahead of time what you will do if you start to feel anxious, trapped, or tempted. If you know you won’t be able to get away quickly, at least locate some place like a coffee shop or a bookstore where you can escape for a little peace and quiet.

Throw a sober party.

If there’s no party you can attend that seems sufficiently sober, you can always throw your own. Invite sober friends and incorporate some of the music, dancing, and food mentioned above. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You probably know plenty of people looking for something sober and low key to do for Holidays. If you don’t mind a bit of organizing and cleanup, you can provide a service to your friends in recovery.

Attend a meeting.

It may not sound like the most fun way to celebrate Holidays, but fun isn’t always the top priority. Many groups have special meetings or even celebrations on holidays. Even if it’s not the only thing you do, attending a meeting on Holidays can strengthen your resolve and help you feel more connected and supported and more able to deal with whatever the day has in store for you.

Established in 1939, High Watch is the world’s first 12-Step treatment center. Every individual who walks through our doors joins a definitive culture of compassion, dignity, and respect from a genuinely caring staff dedicated to seeing the disease of addiction find remission. Providing proven therapeutic approaches and comprehensive 12-Step education, patients leave High Watch with the confidence to maintain abstinence and live a healthy, happy, sober life. Start your journey today by calling 860.927.3772.