Holidays, Social Gatherings, Substance Use

4 Quick Tips: Keep Busy & Stay Sober at Family Parties this Season

Staying Sober and in control during family get togethers

The holidays are joyous times. A time to reminisce with special friends, family and loved ones. A time to take a deep breath and reflect on the year gone by. A time to share a good holiday meal, look through family photo albums and laugh at silly family jokes.

However, we all know that the holidays can also be stressful – preparing, cooking, finding space in our homes for visiting guests to sleep, finding time to cook those extraordinarily delicious meals, finding ways to dodge the relatives so as not to have to account for the past year.

All these good-bad, happy-sad, positive-negative feelings can be typical emotional fluctuations. Most of us can breeze through these ups and downs with ease.

However, people with Mental Health Disorders and/or Alcohol Use Disorders might find these roller coaster of emotions too much to bear and might regress and relapse into old unhealthy ways of thinking and drinking in order to cope with the overwhelming stresses.

But people with Mental Health Disorders and Alcohol Use Disorders do not have to succumb to regression and relapse. Keeping minds and hands busy during parties can help keep thoughts and cravings under control.

Here are four healthy ways to help keep minds and hands busy during family get-togethers.

1. Help the Host

One way to stay occupied during holiday gatherings is to help the host. After dinner, grab a dish cloth and offer to do the dishes. Certainly there is always that “one” person who is always in the kitchen cleaning up. Well, make it “two” people and lend a hand! Strike up a conversation while you clean and observe how the good vibes of a good conversation keep your thoughts from over-thinking and your hands from reaching for a drink.


2. Entertain the Kids

Another way to stay occupied during the holiday gatherings is to play with the younger generation – the kids. Play a good old-fashioned game of cards, or break out a game board or-strike up a game of outdoor hide-an-go-seek. You’ll be surprised at how a little bit of fresh air and young blood can keep you feeling at your best – not overwhelmed by thoughts and overstuffed bellies.


3. Take a Breather

Surely, as the night wears on people will get undoubtedly louder and louder. Certainly conversations will become somewhat emotional – whether full of laughter, tears or even anxiety. If you find yourself in a situation that is getting louder and louder and less and less controlled, take a breather! Step away from the conversation – step into the bathroom, or out on the porch or veranda for a few deep breaths of fresh air. Certainly a few minutes away – to find some quiet – will help calm your soul and bring you back to your center.


4. Come Prepared with News: Be in the Know!

Keep the conversations strong and healthy!  Be in the know! Sometimes family get togethers start taking a turn for the worse when families start gossiping about other family members or friends. Be prepared to put an end to this toxic moment. Before the party, read up on the latest news, become accustomed to what’s going on in the wide world of sports, or in the local government.  Far better is it to solve the world problems than be the cause of a family problem.


Keeping our hands and minds busy during family parties this holiday season will help keep our emotions in check and alcohol out of arms way. However, if you find that keeping occupied during family parties is not enough, reach out to us – we can help.

We are experts in Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders. Our weekly, bi-weekly or monthly program offers help from an on-site Psychiatrist, two private counseling sessions each week with trauma-trained counselors and group sessions multiple times daily. In addition, we offer exceptional experiential therapy on the adjacent Appalachian Trail.

We accept most major Insurance and our friendly admissions counselors are standing by ready to answer your call 24/7.  Get the help you need today and stay mentally clear headed and physically alcohol free this holiday season. 1-833-949-4673.

We're Standing By To Help and Serve