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: