Helaina Hovitz, Author and “The Fix” Shares Holiday Tips of Why It’s Awesome To Be Sober This Holiday Season…


Reasons Why It’s Great to Be Sober for the Holidays.


“No scary surprises: you won’t find yourself scrolling through your phone the next day, regretfully reading last night’s texts, or, even worse, playing detective to figure out where you went and what you did…DRUNK.”  By Helaina Hovitz

When you’re sober, you notice how much everything is, drinks this, drinks that.

Even more so, if you can believe it, than when you were drinking. Around the holidays (dear SantaCon, please stop—please let this finally be the year you stop) not only do opportunities to drink and indulge seem to multiply like a bed bug epidemic, but they feel more tempting because, as merry as the holidays can be, they’re really stressful, too.

They often force us into social situations we’d rather not be in, create unrealistic expectations of the perfect holiday family we don’t have, seat us next to a relative who feels the need to criticize every decision we’ve ever made, or trap us in a room with our colleagues for hours after work ends.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed during the holidays, but don’t despair. There’s actually a ton to be grateful for when you’re sober this time of year. For example:

  1. It’s cheaper. Use that extra cash you saved—12 bucks for a six pack here, 40-50 bucks a pop on cocktails at the bar there, 30 on a bottle of wine or sangria at the meal—and put it towards gifts. Whether those are for other people or yourself is up to you. No judgments.
  1. You know you won’t say a single thing you’ll regret at the work, family, friends holiday party, and you won’t embarrass yourself either. Well, unless you’re prone to faux pas anyway. But that beats not remembering what that faux pas was and immediately having to come up with a plan for damage control.
  1. It can be really, really amusing to watch other people start to act goofy or uninhibited while you’ve got all your tact…intact. Not in a mean way! It’s just nice to be in control and feel just a bit more confident nailing that casual lean under the mistletoe without actually needing the wall to steady yourself.
  1. Hello, Christmas Morning and New Year’s Day! No, I do not have a hangover! It’s never too early for presents or brunch, so let’s do this!
  1. You can come and go as you please and likely not get arrested for it, or risk your life or the lives of others in the process. You’re helping keep yourself and others safe, and also, you’re able to make a gracious exit without breaking the law whenever you’re ready to leave.
  1. Add to that the fact that everyone loves a designated driver. If you choose to deliver folks home in your horse-powered sleigh, keep that tiny favor card in your pocket to play at a later time, or just enjoy the fact that you got to take care of the people you love and possibly save lives. Your call.
  1. If there are kids in your family, you can connect with them without feeling guilty or like you have something to hide. You can be a genuine role model and be the “cool insert-family-member-here” by focusing all of your fun-loving attention on them or being the person they choose to actually talk to about how things are going in their lives during a mid-meal break.

    group at holiday dinner table

  1. When you’re in control, you tend to look your best, emotionally and physically. That means minimal runny eyeliner or mascara in photos or lipstick all over your snow-colored blouse. This goes for the men, too. That shirt is dry clean! If you’re sweating, it’s a quick and easy touch-up. Even if you’re laughing that genuine laugh-so-hard-you’re-crying, it’s touch-up-able. Chances are you’ll also catch lipstick on your teeth, your nose, and avoid getting it anywhere near your friend’s significant other.
  1. No scary surprises: you won’t find yourself scrolling through your phone the next day, slapping yourself on the forehead reading last night’s texts, or, even worse, fishing through bank charges, receipts, and texts or calls playing detective to figure out where you went and what you did.
  1. You don’t need to wait for the sauce to kick in to get hyped to insert yourself into a conversation, tell a raunchy joke (but know your audience), or engage in witty banter. That’s all you—and everyone else slowly lubricating their way out of shyness by drinking will remember you for it. Trust me.
  1. You remember exactly which photos you took and what you were doing in them, and, most likely, who took them. Untagging is one thing, someone you don’t know posting a photo of you with an accidental wardrobe malfunction or making a face nobody should ever see is another.
  1. No faking! No fake romantic connections to leave you broken-hearted, no fake friendships that never pan out. Just gratitude for people in your crew, the chance to make new friends (which takes time and, being sober, you know how to navigate this dance much better), and making good choices, hopefully, about who to friend request/follow/swipe right or give your number to.
  1. You never know who’s watching. I can’t tell you how many times people have said “Oh, I need to stop drinking” or “That’s amazing, I wish I could do that,” or “My uncle really needs to do that…could I talk to you about it?” It’s not your job to get anyone sober, but leading by example often leaves people inspired and you’re likely to get congratulations! or even a secret, silent admirer for whom you’ve planted the seed. You never know who you may just have given a gift to simply by doing your thing.
  1. Not taking the bait: if you have difficult family members, you’re way less likely to get into an argument you regret or play into an unhelpful family dynamic. Also, you might actually enjoy your family if you aren’t itching to get out and get drunk. Maybe they aren’t as bad as you thought, especially if you know which topics to hold off on sharing about or discussing and how to deflect an escalating potential squabble by singing a Christmas Carol of your choice until everyone takes the hint.
  1. And lastly, saving your calories to double down on the cake instead of the cocktails…

    Please visit us over the holidays for more advice on staying clean and sober on “The Fix Magazine”!

    Helaina Hovitz Credit Celestina Ando Photography_0.jpg

    Helaina Hovitz is an editor, journalist, and author of After 9/11. She has written for The New York TimesSalonGlamourWomen’s HealthNewsweekTeen VogueVICEReader’s DigestForbesThe New York Observer and many others. Visit her on Facebook, Twitter, or HelainaHovitz.com.



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