How Do You Deal With Recovery Through the Holidays?
The holidays can be difficult for many people, especially those trying to stay sober. There are a lot of holidays that involve feasting and drinking: Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve just to name a few. The good news is that it’s not impossible to avoid drinking – and still enjoy your holidays. If you’re wondering how to stay sober this holiday season, we’ve got some tips to help you navigate the holiday minefields without relying on drugs or alcohol.
Even people who don’t suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction face holiday stress. People have high expectations and tend to overcommit, so they don’t get enough rest or nourishment. Even when you’re surrounded by people, you can still feel lonely, and all the activity can be tiring. Travel tends to be stressful too.
Plus there are additional stressors for anyone in recovery. You might be away from your usual support group or routines that help you stay on the right path. Most holiday parties seem to center around alcohol, though that’s not always true if you look past the cocktail setup.
Whether you’re a newbie or have some recovery time, the temptation to drink or take drugs can be intense. However, many recovering addicts and alcoholics still manage to make it through the holiday season unscathed, and you can too. Practice techniques and tips on how to stay sober before the holidays arrive, so you’re ready before you hit your first party.
Planning can be your savior through the season. Know what kinds of situations you’re likely to face and any triggers you’re likely to encounter. Don’t pretend to yourself that you’ll be able to white-knuckle your way through parties full of people you used to drink with. Recognize the dangers and protect yourself from them.
For more information on how our addiction treatment programs can help heal drug or alcohol dependence, please give The River Source a call at 866-294-9331.
11 Tips For Staying Sober During the Holiday Season
Even if painful memories or situations arise during these times, you don’t have to drink over them. Keep your recovery first, just as you do when you stay sober during all the other times of the year. Here are some more ideas, so you know how to stay sober for the holidays.
Halt if you get H.A.L.T.
It’s easy to slip up if you get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Make sure that you eat good food, not just junk. Bring your journal or other tools that help you prevent anger or work through it in a healthy way. Have your sponsor and/or sober buddies on speed dial or other friends and family that you can lean on to remember that you’re not alone. And get enough sleep – nap if you need to.
Ask for help
Don’t delude yourself that you can pull through all by yourself. Ask friends and family to provide nonalcoholic drinks. You might be surprised how willing people are to support your sobriety.
If you’re traveling, find and attend meetings
Staying close to other people in recovery, especially those who know how to stay sober through the holidays, can keep you on track. It will also remind you that you’re not the only one going through it, and others may have good tips to share on how they avoided drinking. A simple online search of meetings in the city you’re staying in should bring up in-person schedules.
If you’re not sure you can attend an in-person meeting for whatever reason, then find and attend online meetings. They’re held worldwide, so you’ll find one no matter what time it is.
Make new sober traditions
If sitting around drinking and eating is the current tradition, then make a fun new one. Maybe you all sing carols in the town square, play board games, or go ice skating. There are a lot of festivities that don’t require food and drink.
Have your escape plan ready to go
What will you do when you’re at a party or at your relative’s house and suddenly have the urge to drink? Know how you’ll manage it. You may need to leave entirely, which is easier at a party. Make a plan for what to do if you must leave your family behind to keep your sobriety.
Know what you’ll say
When someone asks you what to drink or tries to hand you a glass of liquor, what will you say to them? Practice this beforehand, so it’s second nature by the time you get there. Remember, no one else needs to know why you’re not drinking, and most (nonalcoholic) people really don’t care if you drink or not.
Maintain an attitude of gratitude
Instead of focusing on all of the difficult things going on, consider what you can be grateful for. Giving thanks even for small things can help you get through trying times. You might write them down at the end of the day or in the morning when you wake up.
Help someone else
You know already from being sober that helping someone else is a great way to get out of your own head. This works really well during the holidays too.
Make your own nonalcoholic drink
Making your own drink means you have complete control over what goes in it, and what doesn’t. Having a drink in your hand at parties will usually prevent people from trying to give you an alcoholic one.
Skip the triggers when you can
If you know your drunk uncle is going to do something that really makes you want to drink or use, try to avoid going to the gathering or being in the room with him. If you know going to a bar triggers you, ask to have the party somewhere else or take your friends to the new eatery in town instead.
Take time for yourself
In addition to eating nourishing food instead of sugary junk food, ensure you get some physical activity. Just going for a little walk in the mornings or about an hour after a heavy lunch or dinner can make a world of difference.
Reaching Out For Help If You Relapse
The truth is that relapse is a part of the sobriety journey for many Americans who are recovering from substance use disorders. Slips are unfortunately easy to make, even if you read through the tips above on how to stay sober during the holidays.
But when you get a dent in your car, do you immediately run out and total it? A slip during the holidays shouldn’t be taken as anything other than a mistake, and to err is human after all. Don’t beat yourself up over it, but do get some help to get back on your recovery path.
You may need the full continuum of care or maybe just some outpatient care and counseling. Look for a recovery center that features medically assisted detox if needed and helps patients individually instead of treating them as just another number. Find one that your insurance company works with as well.
At River Source, we treat the body, mind, and soul. We integrate naturopathic remedies with conventional therapies to provide a holistic treatment personalized to your needs. We also offer a 120-day recovery guarantee so that if you follow all our recommendations and still relapse within a year of treatment, you’ll be readmitted for free. Contact us at 866-294-9331 to get the life you deserve back on track if you make a mistake during the holiday season.