How to Have a Sober Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is the yearly celebration in memory of May 5, 1862– the day that the Mexican army gained victory of the French Empire at Battle of Puebla. Each year, many groups of both Mexican and American cultures get together to throw feasts and parties to enjoy remembering this historical victory.
But let’s be honest. Do half the people who celebrate really know what it is or why Cinco de Mayo exists? Anyone who is used to American holidays is aware that more commonly this day is referred to as “Cinco de Drinko”. People celebrate a little too much with great food, lots of booze, and (obviously) shameless tequila shots.
Of course, there’s the joy of coming together for this celebration and it’s appropriate to celebrate whichever way this date brings importance to you. But if you’re newly sober or trying to stay sober long-term, this holiday can bring some real annoyance, temptation, and even FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Is it possible to still celebrate Cinco de Mayo and still stay sober?
Here are some ideas when it comes to celebrating a sober– but still fun!– Cinco de Mayo:
Make Memories with Family
One of my best friends got sober months before May. So what did he do? Even though there was some temptation around the holiday stigma, he chose to lean on his family during the days approaching. He explained to them that he didn’t want to drink; he was serious about getting and staying sober. His family, being very supportive of him, decided to make a sober-friendly party for him and his friends.
Being a large catholic family who loves to party on this day, they changed things up this particular year. Instead of throwing a massive party with all their friends and family, they wanted to focus on the importance of respecting all walks of life without needing to get drunk to relate to the ones they love. There was a small party with lots of food, games, non-alcoholic drinks, and together they all made Tamales Dulces (sweet tamales).
If you have close friends of family who care about your decision to remain sober, plan something fun in a group effort to keep the celebratory vibe up without the risk of relapse or a hangover the next day.
Focus on the FOOD
The second and probably the most obvious option for a sober Cinco is to just enjoy some bomb Mexican food. If you live on the West coast, this makes things super easy for you– there’s literally dozens of Mexican restaurants to choose from in every city. If you’re in central U.S. or on the east coast, you still have a good chance at finding some delicious options but if you don’t find any, you can always make your own.
Food in many Mexican families and cultures is extremely important. Eating brings friends, loved ones, elders, and even strangers together. The process of making a family meal from scratch can hold more sentiment than material gifts or fancy surprises. Practice the simple act of being grateful for what and who you have in your life over some steaming spanish rice, tacos, pollo con mole, or flan.
Make Your Friends Some Mocktails
If family isn’t around for Cinco de Mayo, invite some friends over who are respectful of your sobriety or friends who are sober themselves. Just because you guys don’t touch alcohol anymore doesn’t mean you can’t create a new “cheers” tradition (and I don’t mean drinking to get wasted or even buzzed).
Mocktails are fake but can hit the sweet spot if you’re craving the limey sweetness of an old margarita. Sober doesn’t have to mean boring so when you add in a creative spin on some of your former favorite indulgent drinks, you can enjoy yourself without feeling the nostalgia or any drunk regrets.
Stay In and Chill for Sober Cinco de Mayo
Maybe Cinco de Mayo isn’t really your thing anyway, and you know if you do go out to try and make something fun, you’ll likely be tempted to drink alcohol. Relax a little: people don’t really care if you genuinely want to avoid the general public at all costs on the evening of Cinco de Mayo.
Stay at home and watch cheesy movie reruns or do what you like to do most to keep yourself entertained and at ease. If you have kids, make the most of it and try to accommodate their interest in celebrating with your boundary to need to stay home. More families actually stay home on Cinco de Mayo than you might think.
If it use to be a big “drinking” event for you, perhaps realize this as a new milestone on your recovery journey. You don’t need to go out anymore to simply have an excuse to get drunk in a socially acceptable way. You’re stronger than that now. So just let yourself chill.
Get into the History
If you’re interested in history, dive more into the story and facts about what happened on the actual day of Cinco de Mayo. There is much to be learned through history and maybe you can hold a better understanding of the purpose of celebrating.
If you’re into culture, art, poetry, music, science, anthropology, or any other “niche”-specific subject, spend your Cinco de Mayo researching some of the most interesting parts about Mexico during the 1860’s before and after the victory. Being exposed to different perspectives can inspire us and drive our curiosity to know more about the world we live in today.
If you’re on the sober lifestyle, what helps you stay clean on Cinco? What will you be doing this year? Are you going to try any of the ideas mentioned in this article? Let us know in the comments!