Cheers to Tears

Navigating an Alcohol-Free Thanksgiving: Tips for Sobriety Success

The holiday season is almost upon us, and for many people, that means family gatherings and celebrations. Unfortunately, it can also mean an increased temptation to drink alcohol, which can be challenging for those who choose to be alcohol-free.

If you are committed to remaining sober this Thanksgiving, here are a few tips to help you navigate the festivities without compromising your sobriety.

Make the Decision Now

Before you head into the holiday season, it is essential to make the decision that you will remain alcohol-free. Your prefrontal cortex (the part of your brain responsible for decision-making) needs to be on board to support you in making sound choices.

Making the decision early will help you feel more accountable and committed to your goals.

Give Yourself a Time Limit

Exposure therapy is a powerful tool in overcoming fears and anxiety. If you are concerned about being around alcohol for an extended period, give yourself a time limit for how long you will stay.

Knowing that you have a set departure time and that you are in control of when you leave can help conserve mental energy and make it easier to say no to drinks. Having an accountability buddy who will help you stick to your time limit is an added bonus.

Phone A Friend

Surrounding yourself with people who support your decision to remain alcohol-free is essential. Reach out to a friend in recovery who has been through what you are experiencing and ask for their support.

Sometimes, just knowing that someone understands what you are going through can be incredibly uplifting.

Bring Your Favorite Non-Alcoholic Beverage

Just because you are not drinking alcohol doesn’t mean you should miss out on the fun of having a drink in your hand. Bring your favorite NA beer, NA cocktail, or non-alcoholic option to the gathering.

Having something in your hand to sip on can help you feel more relaxed and included in the group.

Have An Escape Plan

One of the most challenging things about attending parties is that we don’t always know how we will feel when we get there. If you start to feel uncomfortable or triggered, it is vital to have an escape plan.

Before you arrive, identify a designated driver or transportation method to get you home safely if you need to leave early.

Take Care of Yourself First

Self-care should be your number one priority. This means taking care of your physical and mental health before anything else.

If you need to take a break during the festivities to go for a walk, meditate or do deep breathing exercises, do it. Making time for yourself is an essential part of maintaining your sobriety.

Remember Your Why

It can be easy to forget why you chose to be alcohol-free in the first place when you are surrounded by people who are drinking. Before heading to the gathering, remind yourself of your past experiences and how you felt when you woke up hangover-free the next day.

The memory of how good it feels to wake up without a headache or feeling embarrassed can be a powerful motivator. Let The People You’re With Know In Advance You Won’t Be Drinking

It can be helpful to communicate your boundaries to those around you in advance.

Letting people know that you won’t be drinking helps set expectations and makes it easier to decline offers without feeling guilty. Bring A Friend With You Who Also Won’t Be Drinking

Going to events with a friend who is also committed to sobriety creates a sense of accountability and support.

Having someone by your side who understands what you are going through can help reduce anxiety and stress.

Prepare For Triggers

It is essential to have a plan in place for when you encounter your triggers. If an after-dinner cocktail is your weakness, plan on bringing your alcohol-free version.

If dessert is a trigger, bring a different dessert that you know you will enjoy. Preparing for triggers ahead of time can help you make it through the event without compromising your sobriety.

Accept That The Holidays May Look Different Now

It’s okay to mourn the nostalgia of holidays past, but it’s important to remember that your growth journey is about the present. Embrace the possibilities of what the holidays can be now that you are sober.

Write a new story of how you choose to celebrate.

Start A Daily Gratitude Practice

Starting a daily gratitude practice can help create a sense of positivity and abundance that offsets feelings of negativity or sadness around the holidays. Focusing on the good things in your life can help keep you motivated and encouraged.

Start New Traditions

Creating new traditions that don’t revolve around alcohol can be a fun and refreshing way to celebrate the holidays. Host an alcohol-free Friendsgiving or find a new hobby that provides a sense of connection and community.

Treat Yourself

Rewarding yourself for your hard work is an essential part of staying motivated. Whether it’s buying a new outfit or treating yourself to a spa day, make sure you celebrate your sobriety milestones in a way that is meaningful to you.

Bring Your Literal Toolbox

Having a toolbox of soothing items, such as affirmations, breathwork techniques, or fidget toys, can be helpful in coping with overwhelming feelings.

Give Yourself A Breather

If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a moment to breathe and focus on your coping mechanisms. Giving yourself a breather can help you regroup and refocus on your sobriety goals.

Don’t Go

Remember, you always have the option to say no and not attend a gathering that doesn’t feel safe or comfortable for you. Trust your intuition and prioritize your safety and well-being above all else.

In conclusion, staying sober during the holidays can be challenging, but it is possible. By preparing for triggers, having an escape plan, and taking care of yourself first, you can make it through the events with your sobriety intact.

Remember, your decision to be alcohol-free is a personal choice rooted in self-love, and it’s important to honor that choice in all aspects of your life. As a freelance writer, Certified Life Coach, Certified This Naked Mind Coach, and Founder of the Counterculture Club, my mission is to help people who choose to remain alcohol-free find community and support, creating a safe space for them to explore their personal growth journey.

My personal journey with alcohol began in my early 20s, where I struggled with the idea that drinking was necessary to have fun and fit in with my peers. After experiencing several embarrassing and regretful moments related to drinking, I decided to quit altogether.

I quickly learned that choosing to remain alcohol-free was not an easy path. Society often portrays drinking as the norm, and it can be challenging to find like-minded people who share the same values and priorities.

I decided to take matters into my own hands and create a community where people could connect, feel supported, and celebrate their sobriety. As a Certified Life Coach and Certified This Naked Mind Coach, I have the skills and expertise necessary to provide guidance and support for individuals who are struggling to remain alcohol-free.

Through my coaching services, I help people understand the impact that alcohol has on their lives and empower them to make healthier, sustainable choices. In addition to my coaching services, I am also the Founder of the Counterculture Club, an online platform dedicated to creating a community of individuals who prioritize alcohol freedom and personal growth.

We offer membership options that include access to exclusive events, workshops, and coaching services, providing support and guidance in a safe and welcoming space. In my personal life, I enjoy reading, attending live music events, spending time outdoors, traveling, and spending time with my friends, family, and poodles.

These activities provide me with a sense of joy, happiness, and fulfillment, allowing me to recharge and refocus my energy on my mission. If you are on the journey to alcohol freedom and are looking for support, guidance, and community, visit my website and connect with me on Instagram.

Through my coaching services, Counterculture Club membership, and social media presence, I aim to create a supportive and inclusive space where everyone feels welcome and empowered to prioritize their personal growth journey. Join our community and discover the beauty of sobriety alongside like-minded peers who prioritize personal growth, community, and connection.

In conclusion, navigating an alcohol-free Thanksgiving begins with making the decision to prioritize your sobriety and self-care. It’s essential to communicate your boundaries, prepare for triggers, have an escape plan, and surround yourself with support.

Choosing to be alcohol-free is a personal choice rooted in self-love, and it’s important to honor that choice in all aspects of your life. Remember, with preparation, accountability, and self-care, a joyful and fulfilling sober Thanksgiving is possible.


1. How do I prepare for triggers at a holiday gathering?

Plan ahead and bring an alcohol-free version of your favorite drink or dessert. 2.

How do I communicate my boundaries to those at the gathering? Let people know in advance of the event that you won’t be drinking and stick to your decision.

3. What should I do if I feel overwhelmed and triggered?

Take a moment to breathe and focus on self-care and coping mechanisms, or have an escape plan in place if you need to leave.


What are some benefits of choosing to be alcohol-free? Increased confidence, better mental and physical health, and a greater sense of personal growth and fulfillment.

5. How can I find support in my journey toward alcohol freedom?

Consider joining a community or seeking the guidance of a certified coach to help you navigate and celebrate your sobriety.

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