Sobriety can be challenging and getting through the holidays presents an added layer of complexity, especially for those who are new to recovery. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, financial stress, unfulfilled expectations and family dynamics can be stressful. Whether it’s a suddenly jam-packed schedule, uncomfortable run-ins with old acquaintances, or a simple champagne toast, avoiding triggers and maintaining sobriety can be difficult. But staying sober doesn’t have to seem impossible. Here are a few supportive tips to help maintain your sobriety through the holiday season.
Identify Triggers & Avoid Them
This is step one for maintaining your sobriety. Make a list of all possible scenarios that can trigger addictive behavior. However, be cautious about dwelling too much on the list. If needed, work on your list with your support system. Being mindful of triggers can be the difference between being successful in recovery and relapsing. If possible, walk away from any dangerous situation that can be risky for your sobriety.
Make a Plan
Unfortunately, we cannot control every situation. Once potential triggers have been identified, make a plan to manage them when they do arise. Leave the party early, call a sober friend for a ride home, or practice saying “no” to uncomfortable situations.
Keep Healthy Habits
During all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, be sure to continue to practice healthy habits. Get a good night’s sleep, load up on veggies, and take some time to practice self-care.
Limit or Avoid Some People
Being together for the holidays may include coming together with people who aren’t healthy for your recovery. Avoid old friends who are associated with unhealthy memories. And limit time with family members who ask uncomfortable questions about your recovery process or who constantly ask if you would like “just one drink.”
Serve Yourself & Keep a Non-Alcoholic Drink in Hand
Before anyone can ask if you would like an alcoholic beverage, keep a non-alcoholic drink in hand. They will see that you already have something to drink and won’t bother to ask you. And if they do offer you a drink, you can let them know you’re still working on the one you have.
When in doubt, talk it out with a friend, your sponsor or someone you can lean on. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the busy holiday season but sharing and confiding in others who are also in recovery can help relieve that stress. And if you are attending a holiday party, consider bringing a sober friend for extra support.
Try to remember what brings you joy during the holiday season. When you direct your attention away from what you should and need to be doing during the holidays and instead you focus your attention on what makes you happy, you will find that this time of year is more enjoyable and it’s a little bit easier to stay sober.