Cheers to Tears

Surviving the Holidays: Coping with Alcohol Triggers and Saying No

Coping with Alcohol Use on HolidaysThe holiday season is a time for celebrating with friends and family. It is a time for relaxation, reflection, and enjoyment.

For many people, however, the holidays can also be a trigger for excessive drinking. In this article, we will look at the factors that trigger alcohol use during holidays, tips to avoid alcohol use, and the benefits of an alcohol-free holiday season.

Factors that Trigger Alcohol Use during Holidays:

Holidays are a time for socializing and meeting new people. Friends and family gather, and parties are a common occurrence.

Often, alcohol is the centerpiece of these events. Alcohol acts as a social lubricant, and many people feel more comfortable in social situations with alcohol.

Increased expectations and stress can also lead to excessive drinking during the holidays. Time off work and a relaxed atmosphere can also contribute to increased alcohol consumption during the holiday season.

Tips to Avoid Alcohol Use during Holidays:

There are various ways to avoid excessive alcohol consumption during the holiday season. 1.

Sobriety: Make a conscious decision to stay sober during the holidays. Commit to an alcohol-free holiday season, and take pride in staying true to your decision.

2. Moderation: If you choose to consume alcohol during the holidays, do so in moderation.

Stick to a predetermined limit and pace yourself. 3.

Saying No: Practice saying no to alcohol. Assertively but politely refuse offers of alcoholic beverages.

4. Bringing Non-alcoholic Beverages: Bring your own non-alcoholic beverages, such as soda, water, or juice.

This way, you will always have a drink and can avoid pressure to consume alcohol. 5.

Managing Triggers: Identify your triggers and plan ahead to avoid them. For example, choose to leave parties early if you know that they trigger alcohol cravings.

6. Leaving the Party: If you feel uncomfortable or getting too drunk, have an exit strategy to leave early.


Leaning on Support Systems: Talk to supportive friends and family members.

They will encourage you to stick to your goals and help you resist the temptation to drink. 8.

Hosting an Alcohol-Free Holiday Party: Instead of attending an alcohol-centric party, throw your own alcohol-free party. Consider offering fun activities that don’t involve alcohol, such as board games or karaoke.


Starting New Traditions: Start new traditions that don’t involve alcohol.

Choose activities such as ice-skating, hiking, or watching holiday movies. Benefits of Alcohol-Free Holidays:

There are many benefits of an alcohol-free holiday season.

By choosing an alcohol-free holiday, you can create new memories and traditions that do not rely on alcohol. You can also prioritize self-care and set a positive example for loved ones.

An alcohol-free holiday season may also inspire those who have struggled with substance use disorders by showing them that it is possible to celebrate without the use of alcohol. Saying No to Alcohol:

Saying no to alcohol can be difficult, especially when surrounded by friends and family who are drinking.

Here are some ways to practice saying no:

1. Confidence: Be confident in your decision to say no.

Remember that you are in charge of your own life. 2.

Rehearsal: Practice saying no in front of a mirror or with a friend. This can help you feel more comfortable with the process.

3. Follow-Up Questions: Be prepared for follow-up questions, such as “Why not?” or “Don’t be boring.” Plan responses ahead of time, such as “I’m trying to be healthier,” or “I’m driving tonight.”


Explanation: If you feel comfortable, explain why you are saying no to alcohol. Sharing your reasons may help others understand your decision.

5. Comfort Level: Only say no to a level that feels comfortable for you.

Do what is right for you and your situation. Conclusion:

The holiday season is a time for celebration, relaxation, and reflection.

It can be a challenge to avoid excessive alcohol use during these times, but with practice and determination, it is possible to maintain an alcohol-free holiday season. By focusing on self-care, setting boundaries, and staying true to your goals, you can create new traditions and memories that don’t rely on alcohol.

Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season!

Bringing Non-Alcoholic Beverages

If you’re attending a party where alcohol is the main event, bringing your own non-alcoholic beverage can be a great way to alleviate pressure and ensure that you have an enjoyable time. In this section, we will explore the benefits of bringing non-alcoholic beverages to social events and provide some examples of what you can bring.

Benefits of

Bringing Non-Alcoholic Beverages:

By bringing your own non-alcoholic beverage to a gathering, you can ensure that you have something to drink if alcohol isnt your choice. This availability will help you to avoid feeling left out or uncomfortable, which can sometimes happen when youre the only one who isnt drinking at a party.

Additionally, bringing a fun and delicious non-alcoholic drink can help you feel more comfortable among your peers and participate in social events without the need to drink alcohol.

Examples of Non-Alcoholic Beverages to Bring:

The world of non-alcoholic beverages is vast, and there are plenty of options to consider.

Some non-alcoholic beverages that you can bring to social events include:

1. Hot Chocolate – A warm cup of hot chocolate is the perfect winter pick-me-up.

Bring along whipped cream and marshmallows to make it a real party. 2.

Kombucha – This sweet and tangy drink is fermented and has less than 0.5% alcohol. It provides a great alternative to soda, with probiotics that can boost your gut health.

3. Non-Alcoholic Champagne – Whether you’re toasting a special occasion or ringing in the new year, non-alcoholic champagne can add sparkle to your celebrations without the need for alcohol.

Avoiding Triggers

Triggers are events, feelings, thoughts, or places that evoke the desire to consume alcohol or engage in other destructive behaviors. In this section, we will explore some common triggers, how to identify them, and strategies to avoid them.

Identifying Triggers for Alcohol Use:

Triggers for alcohol can be emotional, mental, or environmental. Some common triggers include:


Emotions – People often use alcohol to manage stress, anxiety, or depression. When a stressful situation arises, the desire to drink can become intense.

2. Thoughts – Self-talk or negative thoughts can trigger the desire to drink.

Overthinking or feeling unproductive may lead people to open a bottle of alcohol. 3.

People – Being around certain people can be a trigger for alcohol consumption. If someone in your friend group is a heavy drinker, their habit may be difficult to avoid.

4. Places – Bars, nightclubs, and other places where alcohol is abundant can be triggers.

Being around alcohol may make the desire to drink higher. 5.

Time – The time of day can serve as a trigger for drinking behavior. Some people become accustomed to having a drink at certain times, like right after getting home or finishing work.

6. Day of the week, month, or year – For some individuals, holidays or weekends may lead to a higher chance of drinking.

Strategies for Dealing with Triggers:

Once you’ve identified your triggers, there are several strategies to help you avoid them and maintain sobriety. 1.

Reduce Exposure – If being in certain places or around particular individuals could trigger you, consider finding alternatives. Occupy your time with hobbies or physical activities that do not involve alcohol.

2. Set Boundaries – Setting boundaries with people who have negative influences or environments that cause temptation is imperative.

3. Developing Coping Mechanism – Identify alternative methods to cope with stress, anxiety, or depression.

This could mean meditation, exercise, or creative outlets like painting or writing. 4.

Prioritize Sobriety – Decide that the commitment to your sobriety comes before, during, and after events, social situations. 5.

Seek Support – Surround yourself with people who prioritize your sobriety or support your journey to recovery. Going to therapy or seeking support from support groups can also be helpful.


It is essential to identify and manage triggers for alcohol use to maintain sobriety. Avoiding triggers through intentional activities and developing coping mechanisms can help reduce temptation and promote healing.

Remember, prioritizing sobriety comes before anything else.

Knowing When to Leave the Party

Deciding when it’s time to leave a party is an essential skill for those on a sobriety journey. In this section, we will explore how to trust your intuition and body and give yourself permission to leave early.

Trusting Intuition and Body:

The decision to leave a party early can be challenging, especially when you’re concerned about missing out on fun or disappointing your friends or loved ones. However, trust your intuition and body while being mindful of any discomfort or triggers around you.

1. Sobriety Journey – If you’re on a sobriety journey, listening to your body and intuition may be extra essential.

Trust how your body reacts to different situations and prioritize your efforts accordingly. 2.

Comfort Level – If you’re becoming uncomfortable because of certain people or situations, honor that sensation and take action accordingly. Its okay to hold people’s expectations and prioritize your comfort level.

3. Intoxication Level – If you notice that you’re becoming too drunk for your comfort level, it’s time to leave.

Dont be afraid to leave before youve had too much. 4.

Discomfort Around Intoxicated People – If you’re around people who are drunk or high, and it’s making you uncomfortable or anxious, don’t hesitate to leave or remove yourself from the area. Giving Yourself Permission to Leave Early:

Giving yourself permission to leave early is paramount and something worth prioritizing in advance.

1. Self-care – Self-care is crucial, and if you’re feeling worried, stressed, or anxious at a party, it’s essential to prioritize self-care over social expectations.

2. Relief – Leaving early may bring a sense of relief and comfort.

Its okay to prioritize your wellbeing over social obligations. 3.

Intuition – Listen to your gut and intuition. Always trust yourself and your decisions.

Know when its time to leave to take care of yourself. 4.

Trust – Trust that the people who value you will understand and support your need to leave early. You dont owe anyone an explanation.

Leaning on Support Systems

Support systems are essential on a sobriety journey. In this section, we will explore the importance of supporting sobriety goals and some examples of support systems.

Importance of Supporting Sobriety Goals:

Support systems are an essential resource on the path to sobriety. They offer wellness assistance, accountability, and understanding for the difficulties and struggles of a sobriety journey.

They can assist in replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthier alternatives. 1.

Sobriety Journey – Support systems can act as a touchstone on your journey. They can hold you accountable to your sobriety goals and provide tension relief.

2. Checking-In – Regular check-ins with supporters can provide confirmation and reassurance in your journey to recovery.

3. Understanding – Supporters can offer empathy and understanding of the challenges of sobriety through shared experiences or always being there to listen.

4. Stressors – Developing coping mechanisms can alleviate stressors.

Support systems can assist with the formation of new coping mechanisms and lifestyle habits. 5.

Physical and Spiritual Practices – Support systems can assist in developing and maintaining physical and spiritual habits that promote health and wellness. Examples of Support Systems:

There are various support systems designed to encourage a continuous and healthy sobriety journey

1. Alcohol Support Group – Support groups provide a space to talk about emotional struggles, sharing experiences, and supporting sobriety.

2. Therapist – Therapists or support groups can provide safe individuals to speak openly about the struggles of your journey with sobriety.

3. Physical Practices – Exercise can act as a stress reliever and provide a routine outside of social situations.

Taking walks, utilizing mindfulness activities are just as valuable. 4.

Spiritual Practices – Tapping into meditation, prayer, or yoga can also assist in growth and self-improvement. These practices can provide a sense of peace and mindfulness.


Knowing when to leave a party early and prioritizing your wellbeing, giving yourself the permission to do so will only elevate your journey and strengthen your dedication. Utilizing a support system on a sobriety journey and seeking healthy habits can further build healthy foundations to sustain and stabilize sobriety.

Hosting Alcohol-Free Parties

Alcohol-free parties can be a great way to socialize and connect with others without the pressures or consequences of alcohol consumption. In this section, we will explore the benefits of hosting alcohol-free parties and how to communicate that it is an alcohol-free event.

Benefits of

Hosting Alcohol-Free Parties:

Hosting an alcohol-free party can help foster deep connections between guests and encourage communication that isnt influenced by alcohol. There are several benefits to hosting an alcohol-free party, including:


Socializing – It opens up the opportunity for sober socializing without the pressure of consuming alcohol

2. Communication – Creating a comfortable space for communication with no alcohol influences.

3. Expectations – Creating a new expectation towards socializing without the need for alcohol


Deep Connections – Being completely present with guests when there is no guard up

5. Non-Alcoholic Beverages and Activities – Parties have more variety with non-alcoholic drinks and activities that don’t center around drinking, boosting versatility and possibly curiosity for new experiences.

Communicating that it’s an Alcohol-Free Event:

To ensure that everyone who attends the party understands that it is an alcohol-free event, effective communication is key. You can let your guests know about the nature of the event in different ways:


Expectations – Create invitations with a clear message stating that it is an alcohol-free party;

2. Bring own Non-alcoholic Beverages – Allow guests to bring their own non-alcoholic beverages, so everyone is covered to avoid awkward situations;


Making sure the event is in a non-drinking environment and keeping tabs with guests on boundaries beforehand

4. Posting clear signage in the area where the party is taking place, stating that the party is alcohol-free.

Starting New Traditions

The holiday season is a time of tradition, and starting new alcohol-free traditions can be an immensely positive aspect of the recovery process. In this section, we will explore the importance of building new traditions and provide some examples of alcohol-free holiday traditions.

Importance of Building New Traditions:

Building new traditions is a meaningful way to celebrate holidays or events that emphasize sobriety and allow for building positive memories. By prioritizing sober activities, you create a sense of control and offer a new pathway that is healthier.

1. Holidays – The holiday season is one that can challenge those who are in sobriety.

Building new traditions that highlight sober activities can provide a nostalgic but healthy environment. 2.

Alcohol-Free – Building alcohol-free traditions take the emphasis and pressure off of alcohol consumption. It encourages a new perspective about celebrating and connecting with those celebrated.

3. Nostalgia – Building new traditions can provide nostalgia by creating memories, stories, and meals that resonate in the future.

4. Memories – Creating a positive memory utilizing a new tradition has been proven to strengthen familial relationships and friendships in a healthy way.

Examples of Alcohol-Free Holiday Traditions:

1. Hangover-Free Relaxing – Waking up early without a headache and starting the day with healthy activities like meditation, hike, or yoga to begin the day on a peaceful note.

2. Non-Alcoholic Drinks and Food at Home – Hosting a dinner or potluck

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