Tips for Protecting Your Sobriety Throughout the Holidays
Holidays can be some of the most fun, and yet most exhausting and stressful, times of the year. That can be multiplied if you are worried about how you will remain sober during these times. It may not be easy, but it can be done. The biggest key is to have a plan. The following are tips on keeping the holidays from stealing your sobriety out from under you:
1. Limit Your Commitments
Do you really want to show up at seven different get-togethers? Most likely, there are places that you plan to go during the holidays out of guilt or obligation. Give yourself a break. You are in recovery, so do not overdo it. Pick the gatherings you actually want to be at and stick to those. For those places you want to be, do not feel obligated to stay through the whole gathering. If you start to feel yourself wanting to give in to temptation, understand that you can leave.
2. Prepare Your Family Members
It will be much easier to avoid places, say “No” to gatherings, and leave when you need to if your family knows what is going on. If you must, send out an email to those you care about most explaining that while you plan to attend, you need their support if you need to leave early or turn anything down. You should also make it clear that you will not be discussing your sobriety or recovery at the holiday gatherings, so you would appreciate them not bringing it up.
3. Take a Friend
You likely have one friend, or even a sponsor, who cares enough about your well-being to come with you to your family gathering. They can help you steer clear of any alcohol tables, or people trying to give alcohol to you, and field any questions that you do not want to answer. Sometimes just having someone there with you will make you more confident. If you cannot find someone to go with you, find someone that will be available should you need to call.
4. Occupy Yourself
Try volunteering or running a fundraiser for the needy during the holidays. This will keep your mind occupied and help you count your blessings. Also, it will give you a way to deflect any family questions about rehab. If they start asking about it, you can bring up the fundraiser and ask for donations.
5. Do Not Leave the Door Open
If your entire family is drinking and you are not, someone is probably going to offer you a drink. Close that door as soon as you walk into the party by keeping a non-alcoholic drink in your hands at all times. They are much less likely to offer if your hand is already occupied.
6. Walk Outside
If you are feeling weak or anxious, step outside. Take a walk around the yard or the block. Fresh air will do you some good- the colder, the better. Take that time to recollect yourself and do some self-analysis. Do you feel like you can stay a while longer or do you think it is best for you to leave? You might even find a long-lost cousin that will take walk with you. The two of you can reminisce and have some laughs, which is always healthy for you.
Though it may seem best at times, you do not have to avoid family and friends during the holiday to protect your sobriety. That is an option if you choose it, but it is not necessary as long as you take precautions and have a plan in place. If you feel that the holidays will be entirely too hard for you, consider checking into an addiction treatment program during that time. Give North Hills Addiction Treatment Center a call if you feel that you or a loved one need this additional support. We’re always available to help. Contact us today.