Ready for The Season

It’s snowing in my corner of Canada and I’m ready for the holidays, whatever they might bring in this pandemic year. And when I say I’m ready, I mean the decorations are up and my sweaters and boots are in heavy rotation. I haven’t bought a turkey because I have no idea if I’ll be hosting anyone or anything. Suffice to say that ready is a loose term to reflect a mental state of flexibility and acceptance.

Photo by Any Lane on

This time of year can be a challenge to sobriety, even if you have serious time under your belt. Don’t underestimate the power of the holiday season – the stretch of parties, obligations, expenses, and commitments that flood our calendars from fall through January – to wreak havoc on your recovery. (Between my sons and daughters-in-law, our family has FIVE birthdays crammed into this season as well. That’s a whole lotta cake and presents!)

I was a guest this week on the Hello Someday Podcast to talk about planning for sobriety over the holidays. Have a listen on the link below or in your favourite podcast app to pick up a few ideas to help you through:

Please pick up a copy of my book UnPickled Holiday Survival Guide: Staying Alcohol-Free During the Festive Season (and if it’s already on your shelf, my sincere gratitude!). One special feature of this book is that each chapter has a section for friends and family, which explains ways they can support your sobriety. These sections can be great conversation starters and help convey uncomfortable messages we might find hard to voice on our own. Please let me know how your loved ones respond to these sections; I’d love to hear all about it. You can use the comments section for this post for open discussion or go to to message me privately.

“UnPickled Holiday Survival Guide: Staying Alcohol-Free During the Festive Season” by recovery advocate, blogger and podcaster Jean McCarthy explores why the holidays can be so uncomfortable for people in recovery and what to do about it. Take charge of your recovery and learn new ways to socialize, host, and interact with family members – without jeopardizing sobriety. Tons of tips, insights, and tools! Plus sections in each chapter for friends and family members, to help them understand their role in your sobriety.


After all these years, I still interview a different sober person every week on my podcast. Listen to the latest Bubble Hour episodes here:

Need a little shot of sunshine? Revisit this video I took from my kayak a few summers ago:

Did you know that I used to sing? Here’s an old video of me singing a fav tune:


  1. Your blog was the first thing I read when I decided to set aside alcohol. It was a big help to see that I was not alone. It has been 14 months and I am so glad that I made the choice. The sober community has made all the difference in my life. I look forward to the holidays for what they are and not as occasions to overdo. So Happy New Year Jean and the rest of the crew!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Jean I am just checking in wondering where the last eight years have gone. Eight years since i poured my last glass of wine. Since then I have been in an amazing space of self control and freedom. For your readers who are sick of the shame of secret drinking, use the end of this horrible year to make a resolution that you will give it up completely for good. It is tough for the first few days and then it gets easier each day. It is so empowering to take control and to be the master of your own destiny. Jean you have helped so many of us with your honest and dignified blog and podcasts.


  3. Finding your blog and podcast has been a turning point for me, reading and hearing about so many stories that sound so much like mine. I think I can do this now. This is day 2.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kathryn, you’re not alone! There are so many waking this path and we are all happy to shine a light and share what we’ve learned along the way. Welcome. Glad you’re here. Day 2 is exciting! Keep going. Better things await.


  4. Hi, Jean! I am envious of your holiday spirit, forced or otherwise. I am feeling rather surly about holidays this year and not even sure a tree is in my future. Maybe a wee one. I polled the kids and they said “Meh”. I concur. I think it was about this time 4 years ago that I chatted with you on the BH? Anyhoo, happy holidays and bdays and just days. Hope to see you in the new year (at this point I will LITERALLY do a meet-up anywhere but my living room.)


  5. Readers of Jean – you should really also listen to the podcast THE BUBBLE HOUR. Jean is a master of the interview technique – so sensitive .Totally gives her guest space to say her piece without interruption and then asks insightful questions to draw more from the guest and help the reader. Of all my “well in sobriety” podcasts, hers is a super star. Thank you Jean. Sober holiday # 5 for me!


  6. Thank you so much for being you. Your blog was the first thing that popped up when I typed “Am I an alcoholic“ it’s been over four years clean and sober. Thank you for being open and out there for those of us that needed you.


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