Strategies for Another Sober Holiday

I’ve mostly gotten used to it but there’s still a mental mountain to climb

Nina Renata Aron

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Photo by Edward Howell on Unsplash

Memorial Day should be a day of somber remembrance, but for many Americans it’s really a drinking holiday, one of many dotted throughout the calendar year. They hit a little different for sober people.

Over the past few years, I’ve gotten used to spending holidays clutching a seltzer, but I still have to steel myself for these periodic days off, socializing with friends who drink. It still feels like a thing, a little mental mountain to be climbed. I no longer resent it, nor does it feel like hard work exactly. Cheesily enough, I often end up appreciating the practice it gives me. But still, I have to pull out my recovery tricks. Here they are:

  1. Serenity prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I know, it can seem a bit ridiculous how much people in recovery rely on the serenity prayer — I found it truly alienating at first — but muttering this to myself has calmed me countless times as I’ve learned to live without mood-altering substances. I like it best accompanied by a deep, cleansing breath, although I have also locked myself in a bathroom to say it a few times to my own…

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Nina Renata Aron

Author of Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls: A Memoir of Women, Addiction, and Love. Work in NYT, New Republic, the Guardian, Jezebel, and more.