The holiday season is full of joy and happiness but also comes with stress, anxiety and parties, lots of parties. For someone in recovery, whether ten years in or ten days in, the holidays are a challenging time to stay committed to being sober. With a plan in place you can stay sober all while still enjoying all the holidays have to offer. We offer some tips to help get you through this most tempting season and remain on your road to recovery.
Know Your Triggers and Avoid Them
The holidays are not the time to test your resolve or your sobriety. If you know a certain party or gathering is going to include heavy drinking or drug use decline the invitation. If there are certain people or relatives who are not supportive of your recovery, avoid them. Avoid events that will have a lot of temptations or leave when the temptation gets too strong. People will understand if you can’t make an event, your sobriety is more important than any party.
Have a Strategy for Holiday Events
Before attending a party or event have plans in place to deal with stressful situations. Bring your own non-alcoholic drink and keep one in your hand so people aren’t always offering you a drink. Have answers ready in case someone asks why you aren’t drinking. If you’re comfortable with sharing then you can tell them you are in recovery. If you’re not ready to announce it, tell them you’re taking medication, are the designated driver, have to get up early or whatever is most comfortable for you. People are not going to be upset if you’re drinking water instead of wine! It’s also key to have an exit strategy. If you go with someone else ensure you can leave when you need to and aren’t dependent on someone else for a ride. If things get stressful or people start getting intoxicated, remove yourself.
Enroll a Sober Buddy
Anything can be easier if you have someone supporting you. Enroll your sponsor or a sober friend to attend events with you. If they are unavailable see if you can call or text them before, during and after the event for support. When cravings get to be too much, send them a text to help get your mind off of it. Talking to someone who understands can help put you at ease. These people will also be more than happy to do things with you that don’t involve drugs or alcohol. It’s also important to let friends and family know you are sober and ask for their help. You don’t want to be around people that don’t support you or will try and tempt you.
Stay Active and Give Back
Keeping busy during the holidays will keep your mind off drinking and partying. It’s a great time to give back too. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities this time of year and helping others will not only help you stay sober but will give you purpose and make you feel good.
Exercise is also very effective. When you exercise it releases endorphins that help you feel good and provide energy. It also improves mood, sleep and helps clear your mind.
Take Care of Yourself
Take care of yourself during this time by eating well, exercising and getting good sleep. Remember that a lot of people are going through stressful times whether it’s with drugs and alcohol, food, depression, stress, financial worries or family drama. You are not alone in your struggles.
Remember why you got sober and all the hard work you’ve put into your recovery. You need to be proud of yourself and take one day at a time. Don’t worry about what you did in the past or your future, just live for each moment and enjoy them.
Seek Help When Needed
This time of year it is especially important to keep up with meetings, group sessions or therapy. These are other people going through the exact same thing as you and you are all there to support one another. If you will be traveling, look for meetings to attend where you are going, you can always find support groups. Having fun doesn’t have to mean getting drunk or high. A few hours of partying are not worth losing all you have worked for to be a better you.
If you think someone you know is abusing drugs or alcohol, contact National Screening Centers in Houston, they provide drug analysis to give you results that are 100% accurate. They are performed at our convenient locations and results are delivered quickly. For more information visit National Screening Centers for our location and hours.