Overcoming Challenges in Recovery During Holiday Events

December is here and opportunities for urges and cravings seem to be everywhere. Several members of the Recovery Community have put their heads together to offer some suggestions to help you navigate this month’s challenges.

People who achieve long-term sobriety have some of the following characteristics in common:

  • They make a firm commitment to their recovery.
  • They make lifestyle changes to enhance that commitment.
  • They are always aware of their surroundings and have a plan to combat urges, especially in events where people are drinking.

Coping skills

The holidays are a prime-time for urges. This is a good time to re-familiarize yourself with your favorite urge-busting tools, and utilize your support system. Include the tools that work best for you in your plan for dealing with those tempting holiday events if you choose not to avoid them.

To Go or Not To Go…..that is the question

But how do you decide? Members of the Recovery Community have compiled a list of questions and suggestions to help you make well-informed, responsible choices:

Things to ask:

  • What is the purpose of the event?
  • Is it safe for my recovery?
  • What are my motives for going?


  • Take a friend who is in recovery with you if possible
  • Ask what the non alcoholic drinks that will be available ; do you need to bring your own beverage?
  • Go in with an inward attitude of pride in not drinking (not outwardly obnoxious)
  • Have an exit strategy if you get too uncomfortable (e.g., fake an emergency, etc..)
  • Make sure your car is not parked in a spot where it is blocked in by other cars
  • Don’t volunteer to be the designated driver as that requires that you stay until the end of the event
  • Have your own transportation or means of getting away
  • Remind yourself of the actual purpose of the gathering


Being prepared for the holiday events this month can bolster your sense of self efficacy during the recovery process and help you begin the process of re-learning to trust yourself.

For more tips on dealing with difficult situations in recovery, don’t be afraid to ask members of the Recovery Community. Remember, you are not alone.

We wish you all a safe holiday season!!!

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