The festive season is always the most difficult time of the year for me, even though I have been in recovery and sober for almost two years.

The temptation to drink is really huge. Two years ago I found myself drinking more than ten units of alcohol a day with my husband, just because I thought I could, I thought it was ok and that I was just finally being “normal” and “enjoying” alcohol like everyone else. And I had been sober for almost a year before that.

On the 28th December 2016 I fell sick from exhaustion for almost two months and it was on that day that I decided I didn’t want to ever drink again. I felt so broken, burnt out and full of poison.

To prevent this from happening again I decided that I couldn’t just hope that my willpower would magically transport me through the festive season and so I made myself a survival guide to a sober season.

This is my gift to you today so that you too have more than just a chance that you will remain sober this festive season.


  1. You don’t need to go to every single holiday event. Choose your events and who you socialise with wisely. I used to be so worried of what people would think of me if I declined invitations but now I don’t think twice about doing it. Most of the time I’d much rather be at home with a good book in front of the fire.

  2. If you have to a go an event and you know that there will be a lot of people drinking plan your exit strategy in advance so that you can leave when you need to.

  3. Make sure you plan what you are going to order to drink before you go out. More often than not I would find myself ordering a “dry white wine” because I couldn’t think of anything else to order. Fruit cocktails, ginger beer, sparkling water with a twist of lime, a coffee. There are so many different options so think about it before you go out.

  4. Take your own drinks to a house party/family gathering. If I am invited to someone else’s house I tend to take drinks with me so that I am not just drinking fruit juice or water. There are so many nice options to choose from now, Seedlip does an awesome range of non alcoholic spirits. Take a bottle with you when you go to parties, it’s a good conversation starter and people like to try it.

  5. Order some non alcoholic drinks for festive occasions. I also make sure I have a good selection of non alcoholic drinks at home, sparkling grape juice for celebrating, non alcoholic beer, again there is a lot of choice now.

  6. Remind yourself why you don’t drink. This one really helps me, I remind myself of all the reasons why I don’t drink, and even if one drink looks really tantalising at the time, when I think of the consequences of that one drink it loses it’s appeal.

  7. If people start to pressure you into having a drink, remove yourself from their company because they aren’t your people. It’s strange when you decide to stop drinking people think it’s ok to try and persuade you to drink. More often than not these people have their own issues with alcohol and so give them a wide berth. Focus on what you need.

  8. Remember to give yourself frequent time outs. Family gatherings can bring out the worst in the very best of us. Taking yourself outside for a breath of fresh air when you feel overwhelmed or using a simple breathing technique can be very effective in managing these feelings of anxiety.

  9. Praise yourself each time you don’t drink. I often forget this one, to say well done to myself for one more sober moment.

  10. Recruit another sober sister and do it together. Strength is in numbers. If you have a friend who also wants to stop drinking then do it together. Motivate one another and share your experiences. I have a friend that I do this with and if I am at an event where I feel tempted to drink I know that I can call her. Just knowing that helps me to feel more empowered and in control.

I really hope this guide helps you as much as it has helped me.

Give yourself the greatest gift this holiday season, stop giving up alcohol and choose to be sober and joyful.

Wishing you very happy, joyful sober holidays!

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The circle of despair

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