Holiday celebrations can be a challenge for those in recovery from addiction. Whether you’ve only been sober for a few months or you have years of treatment under your belt, alcohol is especially tempting when everyone around you seems to be getting into the spirit by enjoying a glass of wine or a few beers. Try these five strategies for staying sober during the holidays while still celebrating the season with friends and family members.
Bring Your Own Beverages
Holiday parties may offer limited non-alcoholic beverage choices. To avoid temptation, bring something that seems celebratory to you without resorting to alcohol, such as sparkling grape juice or flavored water.
Distract Yourself From Drinking
When you plan to attend a gathering that involves drinking, bring a sober friend if possible. Once at the party, find activities that will distract you from the alcohol. Engage yourself in conversation with other guests who aren’t drinking, help the host in the kitchen, or bring a fun party game that works for a crowd.
Weigh the Risks
Understand the factors that trigger the craving to drink or use drugs. For many people, cravings arise when they feel hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Stave off those risks by sticking to situations where you feel calm, cool and collected. Get enough rest and stick to a nutritious diet.
When you are invited to an activity, categorize it as low, medium, or high risk for your sobriety. For example, a movie with a friend is low-risk, while a happy hour hosted at a bar is high-risk. Stick to low-risk activities as much as possible, especially during the holidays.
Have an Escape Route Planned
Before attending a gathering where alcohol will be served, make a plan for a gracious exit in case you feel your sobriety is at risk. Talk to a trusted friend or loved one who can leave with you if you feel uncomfortable. You may even want to make alternate plans instead of attending the party, since you are under no obligation to go to events that may be unhealthy for your lifestyle.
When you do go to an event, consider driving yourself so you can leave whenever you want, or make sure you can grab a cab or an Uber if you need to get home early.
Although the holidays can be a joyous time, they can also bring uncomfortable emotions. Stress, depression and anxiety commonly arise from the busy schedules and high expectations surrounding this time of year. Don’t feel guilty about limiting your social calendar to the obligations that work for your sobriety and well-being.
If you don’t already have a self-care routine in place, focus on activities that make you feel calm, peaceful and energized. Common strategies include meditation, yoga, and other forms of exercise, creative hobbies like drawing and journaling, and spending time with a sober support system.
If you want to strengthen your sobriety or you have concerns about your drinking, talk to the team at Rehab After Work. Contact us today to explore recovery options.