Holidays are always worth celebrating. However, for someone in recovery, some changes to their traditions may be necessary in order to ensure that they are keeping consistent with their sober goals. Changing the focus of a certain holiday or celebration, exploring the historical and cultural context, or trying out new traditions are all a part of this process as someone develops their own ways of celebrating the holiday season. Learning to adapt one’s traditions going forward can help each person detach themselves from the previous expectations that may have been held about the holidays, and instead help them look forward to the continuing positive changes that they are making in their lives. 

Reconnecting With History

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is easy to get wrapped up in the festivities and commercial side of things. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve all bring reasons to celebrate, and there can be any number of parties that someone can attend for each occasion. However, it may be beneficial to look back on the history of each of these celebrations during sobriety in order to establish the context of what each person is celebrating. 

Exploring the historical context of each of these holidays can help inform someone of new ways to celebrate the holiday. It can deconstruct previous connotations that may have been solely focused on the festivities or commercial component, and instead introduce a new cultural element that may have been overlooked in one’s traditions before. Promoting this new approach to each holiday, and interpreting how the history helps someone properly celebrate the occasion, can be a unique and engaging way to host a new, sober event by using this information to create reenactments, accurate decorations, or engage in debates around the history of each holiday. 

Exploring New Traditions

Establishing new traditions is a crucial part of separating oneself from the stresses that the holiday season may bring. For some, holidays hold a close tie to the use of drugs or alcohol. However, it is possible to create new ties and traditions that are conducive to sobriety. Movie nights, potlucks, and new approaches to giving and receiving gifts can all play a part in creating a new atmosphere surrounding the holidays that is completely independent of drugs or alcohol.  

Starting Small

Creating a new tradition doesn’t have to be anything grand. It can be as simple as getting close family members together and watching a season-appropriate movie marathon or playing a particular board game at this time of year, each year crowning a new Monopoly champion, for example. These kinds of activities create a reason for everyone to be together and provide something new and special to look forward to through the course of the year. Starting these kinds of new traditions can help begin to replace the expectation of having drugs or alcohol present to have an active familial gathering

Potlucks 

Potlucks are another way for new traditions to begin. They can be a way for each person to find their own way to contribute and feel as if they are a part of something as a whole. By each person cooking something themselves, they can ensure that they are an integral part of the holiday celebration. This approach also keeps the focus on the various foods and desserts at the party, rather than focusing on the lack of alcohol present. Someone in recovery can also let others know of the sober nature of any particular celebration, as well as assign themselves to provide the beverages. Not only does this ensure that a sober party will stay sober, but also allows each person to provide a wide variety of alternatives. 

Make an Event out of Gifting

Gifts are an integral part of many holiday traditions. Throwing a gift exchange can create further engagement at a sober party and continue to draw focus away from the lack of drugs or alcohol by keeping those in attendance entertained in a new way. Secret Santa gift exchanges are a common practice that holds a lot of therapeutic value. Not only does it give someone the opportunity to think about the nature of their relationship with each person to find a personalized gift, but it can also show those in recovery that there are others who understand them on a personal level and enjoy engaging with their identity outside of addiction. 

White Elephant gifts are another way to create an exciting party without relying on drugs or alcohol. An air of competition permeates through these practices as members steal and open new items in front of the group, creating a story behind each gift that someone brings home. These new memories are important in establishing fun, healthy parties and realizing how non-essential drugs or alcohol are to any party at any time of year. 

There is still fun to be had in sobriety. Learning to host an enjoyable and memorable sober holiday celebration is just one way in which you can enjoy your time in recovery. At Alta Centers, this message of fun and inclusion is championed as each person is encouraged to pursue their own dreams in recovery. Located next to the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, California, Alta Centers takes the land of opportunity to heart to personalize each person’s journey in sobriety. Professionals and peers work together to find the best path for each individual, based on their own unique goals and strengths. Our luxurious atmosphere can provide the comfort you need to address your vulnerabilities in your path to sobriety. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol and are ready to take the first step towards sobriety, call today to speak to a caring staff member at (888) 202-2583.

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