We’re in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, including cheerful celebrations with family and friends. While this is a joyous time of year for some, it can be very overwhelming seeing all your family and friends partaking in drinking (or using). The holidays can be a difficult time for people who are trying to stay sober.
The parties, the family gatherings, the socializing with friends—it all leads to increased temptation, pressure, and sometimes even anxiety. This time of year can be tricky for those in early sobriety and If you’re not careful, one drink could turn into many drinks which might lead to drinking too much or even binge drinking and/or using.
It’s important that people know how they can protect themselves during this time of year so they don’t find themselves regretful of their decisions in January, and then find themselves starting over in their recovery journey.
Here are some tips on what you should do if you want to keep your sobriety intact during the holidays.
Staying sober through the holidays
1. Identify Your Triggers
When it comes to staying sober during the holidays, it’s important to know your triggers. What are the things that make you want to drink? Is it the pressure to drink at a party? The fact that all your friends are getting drunk and you feel left out? Or is it the feeling of wanting to escape, relax, or feeling a release that comes with drinking alcohol or using drugs? As many people know, these feelings are temporary, and the actions often lead to great consequences.
Once you know what your triggers are, you can start preparing for them. You can come up with a plan on how to deal with them or have someone to help you stay accountable.
For example, if the pressure to drink is your trigger, you could try bringing a friend with you to parties who doesn’t drink or creating an exit strategy beforehand in case things get too difficult.
If you’re worried about how you’ll handle being around alcohol, try to focus on the other sober functions and events that will be happening during the holidays. The parties and get-togethers are only a small part of what’s going on.
In the end, it’s important to remember that everyone has their own pace when it comes to how they want to celebrate. The bottom line: there are ways to have a good time without drinking.
2. Find Ways to Keep Busy
Downtime can be dangerous for people in early sobriety. One great way to keep busy during the holiday season is to volunteer your time.
There are always plenty of opportunities to help out at local food banks, shelters, toy drives, or other non-profit organizations. Not only will you be helping those in need, but you’ll also keep yourself busy and distracted from the temptation to drink or use.
If volunteering isn’t your thing, try filling your days with friends who don’t drink.
This can be a great way to avoid any potential triggers and still have a good time. You could go out for coffee, see a movie or even just hang out with a sober friend at home.
The important thing is that you’re not spending all your time around people who are drinking alcohol.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Talk About Recovery
There is a certain stigma surrounding addiction and recovery. Lots of individuals in recovery are hesitant to talk about their experiences. There are fears of losing family members or rubbing certain people the wrong way when you’re telling them what you’re going through.
While it’s completely your choice whether to talk about it or not, you should not be afraid to do so.
By talking about it aloud with friends and family, you will most likely gain support and comfort. There are also many who believe that talking about your issue with drinking and/or substance abuse helps to release its power over you, while also holding you accountable to others who love you.
Similarly, if you just want to tell a selected group of trusted individuals about your sobriety, that can be beneficial as well. While confiding in people you trust, you’ll gain some accountability and a small but reliable support system that will help you stay sober during the holidays.
4. Make a Sober Plan
It’s important to have a sober plan mapped out for the holidays. In general, the holidays pose a lot of personal triggers and uncomfortable situations, as well as dealing with complex personalities of people who might also be struggling. With that in mind, having a plan to be far from it can truly benefit you.
Plans can include things like:
- Attending 12-step/AA meetings, or other recovery programs
- Make plans to meet with your sponsor or sober mentor
- Regular check-ins on the phone with sober friends
- Make time for regular exercise, and mindfulness exercises like breathwork and meditation
No Matter What Recovery is Here For You
If you or a loved one is seriously struggling with drinking, substance abuse, or recovery in general — don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. Our addiction treatment center in Silver Lake, Los Angeles is prepared to help you in any way possible.
Contact us today at (323) 515-1396.