Holiday Abstinence Checklist

This Holiday Abstinence Checklist is available to assist those who will be struggling during this holiday with maintaining their recovery.

Holiday Abstinence Checklist Suggestions

It is important to stick to your goals and know that to do so you do not have to be alone.  In person, phone, or via the internet you can get help during this tough time.

The steps to staying safe

  1. Accompany your sponsor to a one of his/her holiday celebrations.  Don’t be afraid to ask if this is possible
  2. Invite your sponsor to your family event.  Share with your family why you are doing so and explain how important it is to have someone with you who understands what you may be going through.  Don’t be afraid to ask your family if they can keep alcoholic beverages in a cabinet or in one room that you can avoid.  In some situations, family members can accommodate this request.  It is important for you to remember that you are responsible for your recovery so don’t take offense if the concessions you ask for are denied.
  3. Attend marathon meetings locally and online.  Get your calendar and list ready now.
  4. Carry your sponsors’ phone number with you in case you need assistance. If you sponsor will not be in town for the holidays use the numbers that you have been already getting since you started attending meetings.
  5. Carry your Fellowships hotline phone number with you.  This is not an alternative to having other numbers.  You are in a safer position if you include these numbers as a resource.
  6. Do not linger in a room with alcohol and drugs.  Hopefully, you have made the decision not to attend any gathering that has illegal substances. Just in case it is best you avoid any room you think family members are gathering to partake in such substances.  You better than anyone knows the traditions of your family.  If it is the norm to have all the family eat together then after set out the alcohol and substances then that is the time you preplan to give your love and say your goodbyes.
  7. Don’t go if you do not feel safe.  There will be other times to celebrate with family.  Think long term your recovery is to be placed first.
  8. Having 2nd thoughts play the tape and set your boundaries.  If you have any doubts that you will not be able to handle the environment and company at a family planned celebration; call and wish all the best and not go.  This phone call can be made with someone in recovery by your side for support so you don’t risk being talked into going anyway. Play the tape by thinking about what it would feel like if you relapse, envision any past experiences. What does that feel like? Tell yourself that is not how you want to feel and do not place yourself at risk.

Important numbers to have

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255
Veterans Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255
Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233

Free Download:

Do you have any relapse prevention suggestions to add to this list comment below!

**If you found this information helpful please share it to your social media platforms!**

Suggested Readings:

How to Support Your Loved One Recovering From Addiction


Lydia Brown


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Lydia Brown

Lydia Brown, MS, MAC, CSAC, CADAC Editor ATN, Home Business Owner Advocate for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment CARF Surveyor

16 thoughts on “Holiday Abstinence Checklist

  • March 26, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    This is way more helpful than aniynthg else I’ve looked at.

    • January 27, 2017 at 4:19 am

      Thank you Elise many really need this information as a back up resource.

  • January 8, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    These are great tips for all year round, Lydia. I know how challenging emotionally the holidays can be on people, but I really hadn’t thought about those with addictions and how much more difficult dealing with these emotions can be.

    I’m sharing this information with those that it may help. After all, our emotions are 24/7, so is dealing with them and addictions in a healthy way.

    Thank you for the difference you are making in the world, Lydia.

    Deborah A. Ten Brink recently posted…Inspiration: The Intuitive Orchid [Painting]My Profile

    • February 4, 2017 at 8:47 pm

      Thank you Deborah for your comment and sharing this with others.

    • February 4, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      Thank you Sharon I’m glad that many downloaded this so happy it was of help.

  • January 2, 2017 at 8:48 am

    It’s a great idea to have these resources around you at all times, but especially when the temptation is going to be greater. It must be a very difficult time of the year for so many people.

    Enjoy the journey!

    • January 2, 2017 at 7:05 pm

      Hi Mandy, Holiday season is rough also when the summer comes. Brings about that need to celebrate which includes partaking in alcohol and or other substances. Thank you for your comment.

  • December 19, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    Hi Lydia,

    A very important message and a reminder that if someone refuses a drink they may be fighting an addiction problem.

    Happily, in the UK at least, the “don’t drink and drive” message is getting through and in most circles it would now be very unacceptable to encourage someone to have “one for the road”.

    Your post is a useful reminder for anyone hosting an event at Christmas to consider the possibility that there may be other issues than driving and NEVER encourage anyone who refuses a drink.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark
    Joy Healey recently posted…Looking Back On 2016My Profile

    • January 2, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Thank you Joy for your comment so very glad you found this post helpful.

  • December 19, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Hi Lydia,

    I always love coming to your blog because I pass on the information to some of my family members and friends who find it applicable. I learn so much here to share.

    I would love to meet the sponsor of my daughter and brother. It would be a blessing to host them at our holiday events.

    Donna Merrill recently posted…Why Does My Blog Fail To Grow And Make Money?My Profile

    • January 2, 2017 at 7:07 pm

      Donna, that is a great idea. By all means extend an invitation the more the family is involved the stronger the foundation becomes.


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