How to Stay Sober During the Holidays
For those in early recovery, the holidays can be a cause for much anxiety and nervousness. Trying to figure out how to stay sober during the holidays can be daunting. Most addicts are eager to re-engage with a society that they removed themselves from during their addiction. Yet the thought of losing all of the hard work they have accomplished can be scary. It is vital to prepare. Here are 4 tips to use to help you stay sober during the holidays.
1. Have a plan
This is without a doubt the most important. Like most anything in life, having a plan increases the chance of success of staying sober during the holidays. Things to include in this plan are to know which events are coming up each day and have a game plan for how to deal with each of them. Consider skipping an event if the risk is too great; it will probably be more manageable next year when you have more recovery time behind you. Rehearse different scenarios you may encounter. It may sound silly but practicing how you will answer when offered a drink or giving an answer for you why you aren’t drinking can make all the difference. For example, if you caught by surprise and asked why you are not drinking, your thoughts may tell you to be embarrassed. These feelings could lead you to take on an “I don’t care” attitude which is a sure-fire way to relapse. Know what you are going to say to typical scenarios can help you stay sober during the holidays.
2. Share your plan
Next, you need to share your plan with others. A sponsor, a parent, a friend: let them know what your goals and your plans are and invite them to be a part of this process. Ask someone to go with you to the different social gatherings. At a minimum, have someone available for you to call if you start feeling “squirrelly.” Or have someone that can call you can give you a backup plan if the need arises. You might also engage in some extra therapy sessions before the holidays to get professional help on how to implement these steps for how to stay sober during the holidays.
3. Know Your Triggers
Much of staying sober during the holidays is having an awareness of the people, places or things that could trigger trouble, as well as, planning strategies for staying sober given those inevitable situations. By now, someone in recovery should have an idea of the person, places and things that have been trouble spots for them in the past. Part of the plan is to know what these are and be able to navigate accordingly. Are you going to a party where there will be drinking? Do you have a fear of being alone in a crowd? Have you had a hard time saying no in the past? Knowing the environment in which you are entering can make the difference between getting loaded and staying sober.
4. Be Intentional
Along the lines of having a plan, it is important to be intentional about where you go, why you go, and what you do when you are there. Understanding your “why” for being at a party or social gathering can make all the difference in the world. Are you going to a family gathering because you are wanting to be a part of your family again? Or, are you looking to attend a party where you know there will be no accountability? Those seeking to truly stay sober during the holidays will need to know why they are attending which parties or engagements and be honest with themselves. Again, this falls in with having a plan. But if you attend a family gathering, call your sponsor before you arrive and get your mind focused on why you are there. Be intentional about where you are going and why you are going there. Your recovery just might depend on it.
These are 4 tips to help you stay sober during the holidays. Having and sharing a plan is the most important aspect of staying sober during the holiday. However, knowing and understanding your triggers and being intentional about which events you choose to attend, can mean the difference between staying sober and relapse during the holidays.
If you or someone you know needs help navigating their sobriety, please do not hesitate to reach out to San Diego Sober Living or Soledad House Treatment Center for women. We have helped hundreds of women navigate their sobriety and would love to help you or your loved one.