Five Tips for Your First Sober Thanksgiving

Podcasts, Sobriety

November 20, 2023

Thanksgiving week is here! If this is your first sober Thanksgiving and you’re feeling nervous about it all, this post is for you.

The ‘firsts’ are often the hardest moments in early sobriety, and as we enter the holiday season, a lot of scary firsts are on the horizon. If your idea of your first sober Thanksgiving feels overwhelming, you’re in the right place. Today I’m sharing five big tips that will help you navigate your first sober Thanksgiving. 


I’ll share 5 tips that will help get you through your first sober Thanksgiving. And remember, Sober Firsts can be a huge part of your sobriety journey. Getting these big Sober Firsts under your belt is a big step in the direction of a full, sober life.

1. DECIDE. There is a reason I start every single Sober First with this step. Deciding is often overlooked, and can make a big difference in how you experience your Sober First. Making the decision before you get to the party or before your guests arrive quiets the mental chatter in your brain and opens up space to notice how alcohol affects your guests and small moments you might have missed had you been drinking.

2. PREPARE. Once you’ve decided you’re going to experience your first sober Thanksgiving, it’s time to prepare! You’re going to have your response to “Would you like a drink?” or “Oh, you’re not drinking?” ready. (See below for suggestions!) Also, you’re going to have your favorite non-alcoholic drink ready to go, whether that’s a yummy holiday mocktail, and NA beer or fancy sparkling water. Bring it with you if you’re heading to someone’s house. (You can download 5 of my go-to mocktails here!)

3. LEAVE ROOM FOR SURPRISE. OK, so we’re going to be prepared, but we’re not going to try to predict what everyone is going to say and how they’re going to react to our decision not to drink. So often, we assume we know what someone’s reaction is going to be – and it’s almost always the worst case scenario. We rarely think: “Oh, my Mother in Law is going to be so supportive when I tell her I’m not drinking this Thanksgiving!” We assume we know, and then our anxieties and worries fall into place based on our assumption. Leave room for surprise this Thanksgiving. Yes, you might be disappointed. That’s OK and you can deal with that then. But let’s not front load the disappointment – because you might be surprised.

4. NOTICE/GET CURIOUS. It’s amazing what you’ll notice when your brain is substance free and you’re firing on all cylinders. (Pretty sure that’s a car reference, but you get it.) Chances are, you’ve never been the only sober adult in a room full of drinking adults. And no, pregnancy doesn’t count.(More on that in a post soon.) Consider this an experiment and take mental (or iPhone lol) notes of what you notice. How does one drink affect someone? Two drinks? What happens to the decibel levels in the room? What are you able to think about instead of alcohol and focusing on your next drink?

5. CALL IT A NIGHT. It’s so important to have an Exit Plan. Which, I totally understand can be difficult if you’re the one hosting. Whether that means retiring to your bedroom to read and unwind at 10pm or leaving the party when it starts to get rowdy, follow your gut and know when to call it a night.


The options are endless, but in case your mind goes blank when preparing your response, here are some of my favorite ones:

“I feel so much better without alcohol.”

“I’m giving my body a break.”

“I’m checking out this alcohol-free thing and I’m loving it so far.”

“Alcohol makes my anxiety so much worse.”

“Sobriety is badass, so…”


You deserve a chance to see what a sober Thanksgiving can feel like. You’ve got this. And remember, you’re not alone. We have a whole community of sober women who are navigating this right along with you and cheering you on. We’d love for you to join us!

Women only, please.

  1. Ellie says:

    The link isn’t working for the 5 mocktails 🙁

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