The holidays can be a difficult of time when you’re trying to stay sober. This may be especially true for newcomers. Here are a few ideas on how you can strengthen your sobriety during these times.
If you attend meetings regularly, now is not the time to stop attending.
The holidays can be a stressful time when trying to “fit in” seeing family, buying gifts and all of your regular activities. But if going to a meeting is helping you stay sober than it is imperative that you continue doing so. Even if you’re going on a holiday trip to see the family, find meetings in that area before hand, and make it a point to attend them.
A good tip is to have your meetings planned out. That way you can make your schedule around your meetings and be prepared. This makes it much easier to get to all the places you need to without getting stressed out over time.
Recovery comes first!
This is a tricky one, a lot of business’s and friends will probably have some sort of holiday party. If you plan on attending, try to bring a sober friend. It doesn’t hurt to have someone to keep you accountable while at these parties.
If you make the decision to attend a holiday party, always remember that you can leave at any time. If the party starts to get out of hand or people start getting a little too drunk, your best bet is to simply leave.
Don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings or what people will think. Get out of there if you need to!
Seeing the Family
Families can be a trigger for many struggling in sobriety. Make sure your family knows where you stand with your sobriety. If you find yourself struggling, call a sober friend and talk to them about it.
Don’t ever feel guilty if you feel you need to remove yourself from a family situation. This may be uncomfortable for you in the short term, but it is important to look at the big bigger. The biggest priority is to stay sober. If this means removing yourself from a family party, that is certainly better than drinking.
Talking to Someone
Talking to someone is always a good idea.
No matter what the circumstances, having someone to talk to can change your perspective. It is recommended to talk to your sponsor every day when you are home for the holidays. If you can’t talk to your sponsor, make sure you have your support group handy.
In the same respect, make sure you are available to others who may need to talk to you. Being available for other people is just as important as reaching out. It is a group effort! If your support group is strong, you will all have an easier time over the holidays because you can be there for each other.
The holidays bring with them a variety of expectations, whether they be on you or on someone else. Don’t let these presumptions deter you in any way. You can’t pretend to know anyone else’s situation and you can’t expect them to know yours. Keep it simple and enjoy the season.
Anytime I go home with expectations, I find that I end up disappointed. Make it easy on yourself and just go with the flow. Whatever happens, happens. Be cool and let things play out the way they are going to.
Help Someone Else
You’re not the only one going through a rough time.
Look around you, there are plenty of people that have less than you. Helping other people is always the best way to help yourself. Get out of your own head and make yourself feel better by serving others. There is no greater contribution to this world than someone who serves another.
When you make someone else’s life better, you will be filled with a feeling of joy and purpose. What better way is there to spend your time during the holidays than to give back. Show gratitude and help other people who have less than you. You will be amazed at what this does for your own life.
Enjoy the Season
I know how hard it can be to enjoy yourself when there is so much going on around you, but give it an honest effort.
It can be easy to forget that the best part of the holidays is spending your time with family. Try and enjoy what’s going on around you. People are festive this time of year and instead of resisting that feeling, embrace it. Joy spreads.
Stay Away from Things that Recall Bad Memories
This is the time of year for reruns of old movies and Christmas songs that may jar certain feelings. You know what is going to stir up these emotions.
When I come home for the holidays, I stay out of my own neighborhood. People, places and things are still a very real concern. Driving around the old street corners and reminiscing about the bars you used to hang out at is a terrible idea. It only takes a split second for a relapse to occur. The best relapse prevention technique is to stay away altogether.
The holidays provide a lot of down time. Don’t use these days to dwell, instead try and find a way to help someone else, go to a meeting or do some shopping for yourself or someone else. Find something productive to do with your time.
Down time gives you the chance to get in your head and the last thing you need to time and space to start “thinking” of some good ideas. Instead try and find a way to help someone else, go to a meeting or do some shopping for yourself or someone else.
Use Your Resources
There are many tools at your disposal to stay sober, many of which I listed here, use them. We can’t do this by ourselves. Help is here, you just have to reach out.
These are just 10 simple yet useful strategies you can use to help yourself stay sober during these difficult times. Do you have any other suggestions?
Be sure to comment below. You never know when your experience could save another’s life! Happy holidays from Sober Nation!
3 responses to “10 Tips to Staying Sober During the Holidays”
Great article. There is no doubt that the holidays are the trickiest time of year for me. I used to LOVE Christmas parties and drinking around a fire with the family. When worst comes to worst, I remember that I can always just leave.
I grew up in a drinking family. Now, at 34 years sober , I find helping others during the Season gives me the most incredible feeling of Joy one could ask for. There are people in my friends that struggle with alcohol and we talk and they listen to me. In fact, a few want to go and have gone to meetings with me. I make myself available. I also let it be known and people have known that I am clean and sober for some time now. I have down time for me which is exercising daily which gives me freedom of mind and makes me feel good. I go to meetings and the best thing I do is helping others. I get out of myself and get into the mind of others where they need help.
I Just wish I didn’t have this disease!!! I hate it! I wish that I was different and had grown up different. I hope that I can at least save my children from this horrible decay!