Starting New Sober Holiday Traditions

The holidays can be a difficult time for anyone, but they pose even greater challenges for people in recovery, even if you enjoy them: there are simply a lot of potential stressors and triggers to navigate this time of year.

In recovery, it’s important to begin your own traditions during the holiday season to match your new lifestyle — and we’ve put together some of our favorite sober celebrations below for you to try!

Make a New Non-Alcoholic Holiday Drink

Love hosting parties or getting into the holiday spirit, but don’t know what to serve? Try a new, non-alcoholic drink to make, mix, or buy for your holiday go-to drink. A good place to start are big batches of festive drinks, like hot cider, hot cocoa, sparkling juice, or eggnog: things that are just as delicious non-alcoholic, and may only be available during the holiday.

For personal use, try single servings of the above, or new coffees or teas to keep you cozy.

Friends enjoying a sober thanksgiving potluck

Host a Potluck

Potlucks are a great tradition to begin as you start a sober lifestyle, because they bring so much to the table — literally and figuratively. Potlucks are meals, usually dinner, where everyone brings a dish to share with the group: it’s a great way to get up to something with friends or family, make new friends through your network, and make food, not drinks, the focus.

If you’re hosting and made your own holiday drink, consider sharing it with your guests — as we said above, big batches go a long way!

Run a Movie Marathon

Pretty much everybody loves movies, and a movie marathon is a great sober tradition to start with a few friends or family members. The best part is, because you’re in charge, you get a say in what movies you watch or avoid. Don’t care for holiday movies? Have a horror marathon instead.

Just grab a few friends, pick up your favorite salty snacks and sodas, and get to watching together!

Organize a Sporting Event

The winter weather doesn’t need to keep you from getting active — it’s great for outdoor football (often called a Turkey Bowl), ultimate frisbee, or even just a group hike. If the weather outside is indeed frightful, a pickup game still offers both exercise and a new holiday tradition, without any need for alcohol.

If you have enough people interested in playing, you can also organize a tournament or weekly games, so everyone can get in on the fun and keep it going.

friends having fun at a sober video game night

Schedule a Game Night

A game night is a great way to make the focus family and friendly competition. Game nights work because they’re flexible — you can plan or wing board games, card games, or even video games, and there’s no shortage of options. If you have the money to spare, try a new game specifically for this new tradition, and learn the game and its rules with everyone.

Learn to Bake

A common treat around this time of year is holiday cookies, or pies, or cakes, and learning to make your own is a great new tradition to start in recovery. If you already know how to bake, you’re ahead of the curve, and can try out more intricate or challenging recipes.

Baking is fun alone, or with a friend or family member — and best of all, you get to enjoy or gift it afterwards!

Sober friends taking a Christmas selfie

Learning to Manage Holiday Triggers at Extra Mile Recovery

There’s a lot one can do during the holidays, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything you have to do. Throughout your lifelong journey in recovery, we’re here to help.

Our services can help you prepare for the most stressful aspects of reconnecting with loved ones, balancing responsibilities and budgets, and life in the busy holiday season. And our alumni program helps keep you connected to a support network and provides the boost you need to stay sober and healthy in recovery.

If you need extra help, don’t wait: contact us whenever you need!

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