Remaining sober is hard enough to do year round, but especially hard during the holidays when many people celebrate by drinking or doing drugs. Family gatherings, holiday parties, and other social occasions can be very difficult for someone who is just out of an addiction recovery or treatment center.
Thoughts of past Christmases or holiday occasions often bring up memories of celebratory drinking, which links drinking during the holidays to having fun in the past. If this association exists between the holidays and alcohol then it can be very hard to get used to the idea of a sober holiday season, especially when other people around you are seemingly having a great time celebrating by drinking.
Thoughts may creep in, like “maybe I could just have one eggnog,” or “everyone else is celebrating – I should be able to, too.” But the key thing to remember is that you are stronger than these thoughts, and are able to resist the temptation of drinking.
Benchmark Recovery Center teaches that we can become sober through working the 12 Steps, putting life skills into practice, and becoming stronger through a spiritual connection to our personal understanding of a Higher Power. By living out and remembering this philosophy, you will be well-equipped to take on the challenge of the holiday season.
7 Tips to Stay Sober During the Holidays
For a recovering alcoholic, it can be difficult to stay sober during the holidays. The following tips are suggested to make staying sober easier.
- Plan Your Days. Let your sponsor or friend in recovery know where you will be, and have their phone number with you in case you need encouragement.
- Have a Plan B. If you must attend a party or gathering where alcohol is being served, have an escape route or alternative place to go if you suddenly feel uncomfortable around the alcohol, like for a coffee or out to a movie.
- Be Specific When Offered a Drink. Instead of awkwardly telling the person that you’re a recovering alcoholic, just say “Sure, a Coke/Sprite/water with lemon would be great.”
- Outsmart the Disease. Stay connected to sober people, places, and things. Don’t go to places serving alcohol if you don’t need to.
- Take Extra Care of Yourself. Remember to slow down and take some quiet time for yourself during this busy time of year.
- Don’t Overindulge. Go easy on the holiday sweets, exercise regularly, and don’t try to do too much.
- Find New Ways to Celebrate. Create some new symbols and rituals that will help redefine a joyful holiday season. You might host a holiday gathering for special recovering friends and/or attend celebrations of your 12 Step group.
Celebrate Staying Sober
Staying sober during the holidays can be difficult, but by making use of these tips and also remembering the fundamentals taught at Benchmark Recovery Center, you will be better able to get through this difficult time period. Completing a stay at a drug and alcohol rehab center is an accomplishment that you should be proud of.
Many people use the holidays as an excuse or reason to celebrate, often with alcohol or drugs. You can take this opportunity to celebrate not only the holidays, but also your new life of sobriety. And that is something really worth celebrating.