Trying to stay sober during the holidays can be especially challenging. Between the work parties, friend’s get-togethers, traveling, stress, and any holiday blues you might be facing, it can seem especially tempting to pick up a drink or your drug of choice. It is important to go into this season with a plan so that something simple doesn’t cause you to relapse. Here, we’ll share some tips on how you can get through the holiday season without suffering a setback in your recovery.
Unfortunately, there is no bulletproof plan to ensure that you stay sober during the holidays. However, there are things you can do to make sure you have all the support and resources you need to avoid a relapse. Here are some of the best things you can do leading up to and during the holidays.
Ramp up your recovery. If you go to 12-step meetings, increase the frequency. Or, now might be a good time to set up a weekly meeting with a therapist if you don’t already have one. The more support you can give yourself during this time, the more it will keep sobriety at the forefront of your mind. You’ll have less of a chance of falling into the trap of having just one drink… which we all know can lead to a full-blown relapse and land you back at square one.
Practice increased self-care. The holidays are for giving, and sometimes that can completely fry even the strongest of people. It is essential to think about yourself and make sure you are doing things to make sure you remain strong, healthy, and happy. Things you can do include starting a workout routine, picking up a new hobby, and making sure you set aside time each day specifically dedicated to yourself. This isn’t being selfish, it is being smart.
Build up your support system. Make sure that you are surrounding yourself with the right people, like others who are in long-term recovery. They will help to keep you on the right path and advise you when things get tough. They are people you can hang out with when temptation is in your face who won’t push you over the edge. And, they will be a positive influence on your decision making by leading by example and helping you stay sober.
Have a plan for the holidays. This isn’t the time to be winging things, especially if you are in early recovery. For each party you attend, make sure to have a plan so that you aren’t tempted by drugs or alcohol. A good idea is to bring a sober friend with you, and always make sure you have access to a way out in case things get too much to handle. If you plan on going home for the holidays where old triggers may be found, make sure you have someone you can trust to talk to there so that you don’t give in.
Understand that you have the complete right to say NO. There will always be the people out there who insist that you have a drink or people who tempt you with your drug of choice. It is completely your choice to say No, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. You don’t need to explain yourself unless you want to, and it is just something everyone else has to accept. At the end of the day, the people who keep pushing drugs or alcohol on you after you say no are not good influences to keep around in your life.
There is no doubt that trying to stay sober during the holidays is a tough task. It is the season of overindulgence, and many people take advantage of that. For someone in recovery, it simply isn’t worth it to slip up. Just one drink or just one drug can lead you down an extremely fast and slippery slope. You worked so hard to get sober, and one party isn’t worth a huge setback. Plan on staying sober, come up with a support plan, and before you know it January will be here and you’ll have made it through just fine.