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Category: Holidays Straight Up

Everything you need for a safe, sober holiday season

Sober St. Patty’s Day

Sober St. Patty’s Day

photo credit the awkward yeti

First it is important to note that St. Patrick’s day is a time to honor the roots of Irish religious beliefs, feast with loved ones and honor the memory of a guy who was neither a canonized saint nor really named Patrick. The whole green beer, kegs and eggs, kiss me I’m Irish thing came later.

For those in recovery, this may provide some inspiration when navigating the more modern iterations of the holiday: day drinking and overdrinking.

Here are three things you can do today that have nothing to do with green beer, bars or being a drunken hooligan.

  1. Bake some Irish soda bread! 
  2. Whip up some corned beef! 
  3. Read up on the holiday!


Whatever you do – remember that this is just another day! You can still eat and be merry but if you find yourself feeling antsy call a friend, get to a meeting, or keep busy by trying your hand at a new recipe.


Enjoy this preview teaser episode of Serenity Lane’s new podcast!

Enjoy this preview teaser episode of Serenity Lane’s new podcast!

We are very excited to announce a new podcast series that features stories from Serenity Lane alumni who went through treatment for alcohol and drug addiction and are now living life in recovery. While the full series won’t start until next month, we have a special holiday teaser episode to share.

 Just in time for Christmas, here is our teaser, holiday-themed episode of Voices of Recovery. Click below to listen or head over to to download. 

Each new episode will be published here on our website and blog, on Serenity Lane’s Facebook page and the podcast’s Facebook page. Like and follow these pages to receive podcast updates including notifications when new episodes are published.



Holidays Straight Up: Some Cheer for your Ears

Holidays Straight Up: Some Cheer for your Ears

Nothing helps pass the miles and the time like a comforting voice in your ear. Whether you’ll be traveling this week, preparing to host family and friends — or just trying to get through the holidays on your own: here are some of our very favorite holiday stories for your listening pleasure.

David Sedaris – The Santa Land Diaries  Funny, matter-of-fact and great for giving you a reprieve from any holiday blues you may have. Highly recommended for those working in customer service over the holidays.

Advent Reflection podcasts Sunday, Nov. 27, marked the beginning of the liturgical year and the season of Advent. Here is a collection of reflections for each week of Advent and a Christmas reflection.

Christmas with Jon Batiste  – Soulful, joyful and perfect for bringing some sparkle into your holidays. You can listen to it or buy it here.

Stuff You Should Know about Christmas The where, why and how of everyone’s favorite holiday.

John Henry Faulk’s Christmas Story Some vintage, sweet Southern storytelling that will transport you to a place of gratitude. I’m not crying YOU’RE CRYING!

Holidays Straight Up: Sober Gift Giving

Holidays Straight Up: Sober Gift Giving


Some people are born gift-givers. You know the type. They listen and they remember. Your hobbies. Things you enjoy. Your favorite foods and places to shop. They turn up with the best gifts while the rest of us are grabbing gift cards and tinted chapstick samplers in a panic at the 11th hour. Another perennial favorite gift for the last-minute gift giver is booze. A nice bottle of champagne as a hostess gift. A 6-pack of some holiday-themed micro-brew. Or wine. Just…wine – the gift for any occasion.

In recovery, this can mean thinking a little outside the box. Or bottle, in this case. Here are some gift-giving suggestions for the people on your list in recovery.

  1. Bangles with purpose: The popular wrist bangle gets a spiritual makeover. Pretty, sweet and a great reminder now and throughout the year how this thing works.
  2. Anything related to coffee: a cool mug, tasty coffee or tea/tea accessories
  3. Things related to hobbies, such as this adorable, personalized kitting bowl
  4. Plants are perfect. Something simple for the indoors, a project for the novice or seeds for the outdoors gardener.
  5. Useful things make great hostess gifts:
    1. Tote bags
    2. This thing
    3. Can’t go wrong with linens!

Good luck and happy shopping! A special thanks to all of the great artists and vendors on Etsy – where most of these unique and lovely items may be found.

Welcome to Turkeypocalypse – er – Thanksgiving

Welcome to Turkeypocalypse – er – Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving. National Day of Travel. Tasty foods, piled high and maybe some stress, too. And for those in recovery: welcome to the first leg of the Triple Crown. Whether this is your first sober Thanksgiving or 30th, this is a tricky time of year. Many people in recovery will tell you that the holidays can be a little lonely or bring back difficult memories. But they will also tell you that this is a time of year when they feel a lot of gratitude. Spending the holidays sober means making living amends by showing up, bringing good cheer and helping out as much as you can. This can also be a time to reconnect with friends and family and experience the joys of being present and accepting life on life’s terms.

That being said, life is still, well, life. And there may be some stress, maybe some drama or just a little indigestion from the turkey. Here are some of our favorite Sober Thanksgiving Survival tips and tricks.

  1. Be Helpful. Seriously. Ever hear the phrase “to get self esteem do estimable acts?” Pitching in on the cooking, clearing the table and washing dishes can go a long way towards soothing jittery nerves and lowering anxiety around being with friends and family.
  2. Traveling by air? God help you. Just kidding, it’ll be great. But in case you encounter any delays or snags, here are some travel best practices for ensuring smooth traveling.
  3. Driving? Experts say Wednesday is the busiest time to hit the road and if you’re driving ON Thanksgiving it’s best to hit the road before 10am. Prot Tip: Apps like Waze work wonders for avoiding traffic bottlenecks and seeking alternate routes if there is an accident.
  4. Turkey and Chill: Nothing like watching other people deal with the holidays to remind you to have a sense of humor about it all. Here is a great compilation of movies you can stream right to your handheld device.
  5. Have meetings will travel. If you’re going to be out of time hitting a meeting away from home can be both fun and a serious lifesaver. Nothing like checking in with a bunch of other sober people dealing with holidays and families to ground yourself in your sobriety. Wherever you are going the chances are good there is a meeting there. To find meetings google the town you’re going to + the word “intergroup.” If you’re not familiar with the areas call them up, tell them where you’ll be and ask for recommendations.
  6. Treat Yo’Self. Lavender, hot baths, chocolate and chamomile teas are all proven, natural stress relievers. A little tea with honey and milk, a hot bath and a little aromatherapy seriously work wonders whether it’s getting yourself into a state of zen before facing the holiday melee or taking the edge off after a long day of travel and social time.

Whatever you do: remember that you don’t have to do it alone. Call your sponsor, call a friend, go to a meeting or just ask the universe to help. Just do one thing at a time, accept life on life’s terms and be patient with yourself.

Good Luck!

Holidays Straight Up: Sober Holidays 101

Holidays Straight Up: Sober Holidays 101

Christmas Labels - ornaments, decorations.Being seated around the holiday table with family is an image that evokes many different associations. The mouth-watering smell of roasted turkey. The warm smile on faces as plates are passed and piled high with delicious foods. The full belly and happy heart of a meal shared with loved ones. However, time spent with family can also be stressful, even painful. For those early in their recovery there may be hurt feelings or bad memories from past holidays. Or you simply are not looking forward to being the odd one out when they’re passing out the eggnog. As a person in recovery you can’t turn to the glass of wine or cocktail to “mellow” you out. So what’s a sober person to do when the going gets tough? We’ll delve into all of this in more detail in the weeks ahead. But for now, here’re the definitive Big Five Basics of celebrating the holidays sober — while keeping your cool.

  1. Try the bookend technique
    Simply put, this is when you do something before you head over to your holiday event and something directly after. Call your sponsor, call a friend, hit a meeting, do a gratitude list, have a coffee and pie “debrief with friends,” or go for a walk/run/trip to the gym. Exercise, meditation, yoga and going to a meeting are all great activities to get you in a good emotional and physical space to deal with stress and other emotions. Having something set before and after will help you to keep the event right sized and remain connected to your recovery throughout.
  2. Have an Out
    When you are new in sobriety it is helpful to develop the practice of knowing your escape routes. So to speak. This imply means you know how to get out of a situation that is beginning to feel uncomfortable — or downright perilous to your sobriety.  This can mean giving yourself permission to quietly grab your coat and keys and duck out with no explanation at all or simply having an imaginary appointment or event that you need to leave to take care of. The point is that you practice putting your sobriety and your emotional wellbeing first and know that tapping out and taking your leave is okay to do.
  3. Sweets and Warm Beverages
    First off, please avoid going into these events with low blood sugar. You’ll overeat and you’re more likely to be grumpy. A little snack or hot tea with honey and lemon will go a long way towards cutting down stress and change your spirit animal from Grumpy Cat to this happy little guy. Also, here are some great recipes for non-alcoholic, tasty beverages:

  4. Remember Your Sober Tools
    People in recovery have tools. Meetings are tools. Sponsors and sober friends are tools. Service is a tool. Meditation and gratitude lists are tools. Prayer is a tool. At any given time these holidays, if you start to feel yourself going off the beam try using one of your tools. Examples:

    • Be helpful: Volunteer at a soup kitchen or just help clear the dishes and then make sure you compliment everyone who cooked. It’s easy to be helpful and every little act of kindness pays dividends in happiness.
    • Pray: Doesn’t matter if you have a strong spiritual practice. It’s not about knowing what you’re praying to or why. It’s the action–the power of ritual — kneeling, bowing your head, closing your eyes — asking for help or for strength or just turning over a person, place or thing you are having trouble accepting lightens your mental and emotional load.
    • Make a gratitude list: Seriously. five things, write them down. Text them to a friend. Say them to yourself int he mirror in the bathroom. Gratitude thumps resentment, fear, anger and even sadness.
    • Get to a meeting! Have a meeting guide? get one. Traveling somewhere and don’t know where the meetings are? Check the local inter-group. You can find this by googling the name of the place you are going and “AA meetings.” You would be amazed how much fun it can be to visit meetings when traveling and how big a relief it can be to sit in that chair in the midst of holiday stress.
  5. Don’t Drink 
    So simple right!? Except it’s not. Stay strong. Use your tools and do your best.