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The holidays are supposed to be a time of celebration and good cheer for everyone. It’s also a time when people tend to enjoy festive drinks, wine, champagne, and other alcoholic beverages. During the holidays, when so many people are drinking as part of their celebrations, it can be difficult to navigate certain spaces and stay sober, especially for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, as some research has demonstrated that the LGBTQIA+ community is more susceptible to alcohol abuse than the general population.

If you’re sober or trying to cut back on drinking, finding a strong community and safe sober spaces is essential. That doesn’t mean you need to completely cut yourself out from traditional celebrations or events, but it’s important to have a community to turn to that can support you on your sober journey.

Let’s take a look at why LGBTQIA+ sober community matters and how you can navigate—and enjoy—the holidays without partaking this year.


Find a Queer Sober Social Space

Queer Sober Social (QSS) launched in 2020. Based in Chicago, the group was started by members of the LGBTQIA+ community who were tired of feeling like they had no place to go where they wouldn’t be judged or questioned about not drinking — especially during social events. So many queer individuals have to deal with judgment and discrimination already when visiting home for the holidays, the last thing anyone needs is another reason for people to look at them differently within LGBTQIA+ safe spaces.

While the official Queer Sober Social group is only in Chicago, they do hold Zoom events for anyone across the country to join. You can also create your own ‘sober social’ event for your friends and other local members of the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s a great excuse to host a holiday event and build a foundation for a sober community you can turn to throughout the season — or throughout the rest of the year. Knowing there are people in your corner going through the same things as you can make a big difference in your self-esteem and your drive to stay sober.


How to Navigate the Party Scene

Having a community behind you will make it easier to get through more “traditional” holiday parties and events. As you navigate these events, remind yourself why you want to stay sober. Maybe you’re in recovery from alcohol abuse or you’re just dipping your toe into a sober-curious lifestyle. Maybe you’re doing it for the multitude of mental health benefits that happen when you stop drinking, including better sleep,  better focus, and reduced risk of certain illnesses.

With those convictions in mind, it will be easier to say no to cocktails and wine. You can also lean on your support system when you’re elsewhere by having a group text that you can turn to for constant support. You can also utilize the following tips:


  • Drink something fun. Bring your own pitcher of punch or mocktail to share with everyone.
  • Watch out for activities that are exceedingly stressful or people who might try to pressure you into drinking. If someone suggests a drinking game or another activity that involves alcohol, it’s okay to politely decline or suggest something else.
  • Set boundaries. If this is the first holiday season you’re trying out a sober lifestyle, your friends and family may not know what to do to help you in your journey. As such, set up boundaries that will support you the most during this time.

We’re seeing a rise in the sober-curious movement across the country as more people prioritize their mental health. The more assertive you are about your choice to not drink, the more likely it is that people will understand and respect that choice.

As someone in the LGBTQIA+ community, it’s always important to surround yourself with a supportive, strong, uplifting community. During the holiday season, especially if you’re trying to avoid drinking, that sense of community is even more necessary. Find your people, stick to your convictions, and you can enjoy the holidays with clarity and peace.



Amanda Winstead
Amanda Winstead
Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter @AmandaWinsteadd.