Holiday Hang-ups: Avoiding Common Triggers


celebration, holidays and people concept – happy family having tea party at home

In recent years, connecting and spending quality time with those we love has been increasingly difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, though, we have adapted and found ways to work alongside the pandemic so that we can remain supported and connected to our recovery networks while we are in early recovery. In 2022, we can finally look forward to a holiday season full of love, laughter, support, and the connection we crave.

Being able to get together again sounds great in theory, but for some people in early recovery, it can set off a panic alarm. What if I’m offered a drink at a party? What will people think when I say no? Will I have to explain my situation to strangers? How comfortable will I be? Know that if you find yourself facing these questions, you are not alone. The holidays can be as stressful as they are joyful. However, with a little confidence, perseverance, and checking in with your support network, you can handle any holiday get-together like a pro. Below are a few common concerns and ideas to help get you out of your head.

  • What if I’m offered a drink at a holiday party or get-together?

First, make sure you are surrounded by people you know and trust. People who understand your situation and support your decisions should be the only kind of people you are spending your time with. Make a plan before the event to make sure you do not find yourself in this situation. For example, notify the wait staff or party host that you’d prefer sparking water instead of alcohol.


  • Can I ask other party guests not to drink?

If you are in an environment surrounded by supportive friends and family, make this request known beforehand. You cannot fully control the decisions of others, but you can create an environment where your request is more likely to be understood and followed. For example, don’t focus on finding big parties hosted by other people. Have your own sober get-together at your own house and keep it lowkey, inviting only those you know, love, and trust. Your house, your rules.


  • What if I get bored or start experiencing cravings?

Sadly, these feelings are unavoidable – especially if it is holiday time and you are new in your recovery. Remember to connect with your recovery support network in times of struggle, boredom, or craving. Do not feel afraid to leave a party early if you must. FaceTime, text, Zoom, anything to get you talking to someone who knows what you’re going through and can offer words of support and encouragement. Utilize the connections you spent time building in treatment and during early recovery – since it is holiday time, chances are, others in your network are also struggling. In these instances, a conversation can be mutually beneficial.


It may seem hard to believe, but there are people in your corner who want you to be safe and comfortable this holiday season – even if that means they’ll be skipping a drink or two when they see you! Don’t lose sight of those connections during the holiday season and keep your support network close. The holidays are all about togetherness, which goes hand in hand with the philosophy of recovery. Take this stressful time and turn it into a positive experience – you already have all the tools you need. From Fellowship Hall, have a very happy, sober holiday!



For more information, resources, and encouragement, “like” the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

About Fellowship Hall

For 50 years, Fellowship Hall has been saving lives. We are a 99-bed, private, not-for-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located on 120 tranquil acres in Greensboro, N.C. We provide treatment and evidence-based programs built upon the Twelve-Step model of recovery. We have been accredited by The Joint Commission since 1974 as a specialty hospital and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. We are committed to providing exceptional, compassionate care to every individual we serve.


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