For many of us, the holidays are a season of food, joy, and celebration. But in reality, the holidays can be quite stressful, especially for those who are in the process of recovering from alcohol or drug abuse.
How to Stay Sober During the Holidays?
The holidays can be seriously challenging for your sobriety and sanity. For many, family and friend interactions play a big part in this holiday pressure. To help you deal with this situation, here are some 5 tips for staying sober even during the holiday season.
1. Plan Ahead and Create an Exit Strategy
Do three hours with your relatives leave you craving a drink? Well, if that’s the case, why don’t you leave early? It’s okay to put your recovery first. There is nothing wrong with prioritizing yourself above all else.
Planning ahead is crucial for social gatherings and parties with a holiday theme, especially if there will be plenty of alcoholic beverages and guests who will try to tempt you with these beverages. By making plans in advance, you can protect yourself from triggering environments and uncomfortable situations. You can prepare a speech and refuse people politely without offending them or making a scene.
2. Bring a Car and a Sober Companion
Always bring your own car to holiday gatherings so that you are in total control of your time. It will be best if you bring a sober companion, who can be a friend or a family member. Having a support system and someone who can closely monitor the typical triggers is essential to preventing relapses: H.A.L.T: Hungry. Angry. Lonely. Tired. Try your best to arrive early so you can also leave early.
3. Eat Well and Be Mindful
The holidays don’t give us permission to indulge excessively. Nothing is worse than stuffing ourselves with unhealthy foods that are high in fat, sugar, and carbohydrates. Therefore, make an effort to be proactive and select nutritious and healthy foods that will encourage celebration rather than guilt.
Try your best to be mindful whenever you ask someone else to grab you a drink. They might get you wrong or forget that you don’t want to drink alcohol. If you accidentally take a sip, don’t panic or freak out. It’s okay! It’s only a sip. Relax. Breathe in and out. This doesn’t mean you will relapse. Stay calm and do not entertain the thought of relapsing. If those thoughts begin to creep in. Rationalize it and shut it down. A mistake is not a relapse, and it’s not going to land you in rehab. Be kind to yourself and don’t beat yourself up too much because of this. The important thing is that you are trying your best.
4. Be Kind to Yourself
It is important to always remember to be kind to yourself. No recovery is ever completely successful. Acknowledge your small victories. Take care of your body, mind, and soul as you celebrate the holidays. Being exhausted prevents us from giving our all.
Give yourself the gift of time by doing some acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and prayer sessions. You will feel stronger both physically and emotionally if you eat well and engage in lots of healthy physical activity.
5. Get Help and Support When You Experience Stress
As you plan each day in November and December, make sure to be surrounded by good people who can help you and support you whenever you feel overwhelmed by the erratic nature of the season.
When traveling to a different city, prepare ahead of time and make sure you have someone with you or someone you can call whenever you feel depressed or alone. It’s important to have supportive loved ones that can help you stay clean and sober.
Sober Talk was created to provide a safe place for people to tell their stories, ask for help, celebrate their accomplishments, share their struggles, and connect with other real people going down the same path. If you need someone to talk to, you can visit and message us on our Facebook page for a fun and friendly discussion of sobriety and recovery.