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Tempted to Drink During the Holidays?

A young woman wearing a festive holiday scarf smiles.
A shift in mind-set can help you enjoy the holidays—without alcohol.


There are many good reasons to take it easy with the drinks over the holidays. If you struggle with addiction, you’ll want to avoid alcohol altogether, of course. But even social drinkers should approach the season with caution.

Alcohol is everywhere this time of year, making it easy for casual drinking to escalate into problem drinking in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

With that in mind, here are a few tactics to use when you’re tempted to drink.

Avoiding Alcohol During the Holidays

If you’ve just given up alcohol, it’s probably wise to avoid functions with alcohol altogether. As you grow in your sobriety, you’ll develop the skills to handle these situations. At the very least, consider leaving before it get’s too late, which is when social drinking tends to turn into sloppy drinking.

If there is a family party that you don’t want to miss, consider asking your host to change the way alcohol is served by keeping it in one designated area. That means no open bottles of wine on the dinner table and certainly no bottle of scotch on the side table next to Uncle Bert’s chair. (This is a smart thing to do anyway when there are under-agers around.)

Notice the Sober People—and Get to Know Them

At any get together, there’s bound to be a decent number of people who don’t drink at all—and it’s not that they have given alcohol up. They just never really cared for it or how it affected them in the first place.

By seeking these people out (who you might have previously dismissed as boring non-drinkers) you can observe how people are indeed able to have fun without drinking. At the very least, they’re bound to be better conversationalists than your co-worker who’s been doing shots since he walked in.

Redefine Your Idea of Fun

Our culture tells us that drinking is the way to celebrate. But the true heart of a party is people—not booze. If you honestly don’t enjoy being with a certain group, you should probably skip that get-together.

Maybe you simply don’t stay at parties till the wee hours like you used to. Because you’ve got hangover-free plans for the next day. Maybe you’ve got a winter hike planned. Or you’ll be hitting the gym, then the market where you’ll pick up the ingredients for a new recipe you’ve been wanting to try out.

If you go into a party thinking that you won’t have fun, then you’ve already sealed your fate. Trying to stay positive will be a huge help this time of year—and every day for the rest of your life.

Stay in Control

If you’re still drinking, but are worried that you’ll drink too much over the holidays, come up with a plan ahead of time and stick with it. Maybe you decided that it’s OK to drink three days a week during the holidays, but no more than three drinks each time.

If you find that you have trouble controlling your drinking once you start, that’s a sign that it may be time to seek help.

Hope and Healing at The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, our first goal is to make you feel safe and comfortable. You’re then assigned your own master’s level therapist who will work with you to come up with a plan for rehab—and to rebuild your life. Our goal isn’t just to address your physical addiction. It’s to help you discover your path to a healthy, fulfilling and rewarding life. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about the alcohol addiction treatment program at The Raleigh House.

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