LiveSmart: Maintaining Your Sobriety During the Holiday Season

[Written by Steve Boulet, BS/CASAC, Operations Manager, Withdrawal and Stabilization Services for Behavioral Health, St. Peter’s Health Partners.]

Whether you are watching commercials on TV, scanning your social media, or listening to the radio, the idea of alcohol use being equivalent to holiday merriment is everywhere. These influences can make the holidays challenging for someone in recovery from addiction or struggling with an active addiction.

If you are planning to attend a holiday gathering with family, friends, or colleagues from work, make a plan now to stay sober. Knowing in advance how you are going to manage thoughts of substance abuse is important to your success. Suggestions from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation include:

  • Attend a 12-step meeting before the party.
  • Bring a sober friend or attend with someone in your support system.
  • Make plans to call your sponsor if you need the support.
  • Practice politely refusing alcohol and other drugs.
  • Limit your time around stressful situations and difficult people. Have a way to excuse yourself from a conversation if feelings become overwhelming.
  • Keep a non-alcoholic beverage in your hand so people are less likely to offer you a drink. There are many “mocktails” and other non-alcoholic options available.
  • Avoid having someone make a drink for you and accidentally ingesting alcohol.
  • Have an escape plan.

If none of these options seem realistic for you, consider making only a brief appearance or declining the invitation. You can plan your own get-togethers with family and friends later that do not include alcohol.

Managing your addiction to alcohol, opioids, or other substances is possible with the right combination of targeted treatment and comprehensive social supports. St. Peter’s Addiction Recovery Center (SPARC) provides support and a safe place for individuals with a variety of addictions, providing access to outpatient, inpatient, and detoxification treatment sites throughout the Capital Region.

SPARC treatment services include:

  • Psychosocial assessment
  • Medically managed withdrawal
  • Medical evaluation and stabilization
  • Psychiatric assessment
  • Medication management
  • Comprehensive treatment and discharge planning
  • Suboxone and opiate treatment services
  • Spirituality and 12-step groups

SPARC offers inpatient detox, inpatient rehabilitation, ambulatory detox, ancillary withdrawal services with access to medication-assisted treatment (buprenorphine products, e.g., Suboxone/Sublocade), and outpatient counseling for individuals at various stages in their path to achieving sobriety. To learn more about SPARC’s “Road to Recovery,” please visit

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is a phone call away. For more information on all our programs, visit us at or call our central intake line at 518-452-6797.

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