The holiday season is a time for celebration and cheer. Family gatherings, dinner parties, and other activities bring friends and loved ones closer to each other. While the holiday season is one of great happiness, it can be dangerous for those in recovery. Saying sober through the holidays is often a tremendous challenge, and those who are in recovery may approach family gatherings, work parties, and other social events with great apprehension.
For many who are sober, following a simple set of sober holiday tips helps them enjoy the holidays and keeps their recovery front and center. This article provides you with effective tips for staying sober during the holidays. No matter how long you have been in recovery, these sober holiday tips will help you focus on what matters most, which is family, friends, and other loved ones.
Spirit Mountain Recovery is an inpatient drug rehab in Utah.
Why is Staying Sober Challenging During the Holidays?
If you are sober, the holiday season provides a daunting set of challenges. First, the holidays change your daily routine. Between vacations from work, family gatherings, and time spent preparing for the season, you may neglect important components of your recovery plan such as AA, exercise, and diet. When your daily schedule is disrupted, it can make you more vulnerable to the triggers and temptations of holiday social events.
Secondly, holiday gatherings and celebrations are typically heavy on alcohol use. With the overabundance of wine, beer and other libations, holiday get-togethers can feel overwhelming. Thirdly, family stress can cause undue stress and anxiety. This is especially true if there are family members where you have a strained relationship. Along with other factors, these added stresses can make substance use more tempting during the holiday season.
Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays
It is no surprise the holidays are a challenging time of the year for those who are in recovery. In order to minimize the chances of relapse, these simple tips for staying sober during the holidays will make you more confident and strengthens your resolve to work your program of recovery:
Have a Pre-Planned Response
If you expect that people will be offering you drinks at a social gathering, think about how you will respond. Having a set of pre-planned responses gives you an “out” and will lessen the danger. Oftentimes a polite but firm “no thank you” is enough. You can also use such responses as the following:
- I am the designated driver tonight
- I have to work tomorrow
- Yes, I would love a Coca-Cola please!
Try and keep your responses short and to the point. Longer responses that are vague can open the door for people to be more persistent.
One of the best tips for staying sober during the holidays is to find support meetings such as AA or NA. Many twelve-step groups have special meetings during the holiday season and can be an invaluable tool to get extra support and encouragement. If possible, attend extra meetings during the holiday season for added support.
Have an Exit Strategy
No matter how strong the resolve, there can be situations where stress may get the better of you. In social situations where the chance of relapse is high, it is important to have a solid exit strategy. It can be as simple as saying “I have to be up early tomorrow” or “I need to get the babysitter home early.” You can also ask a friend beforehand to be near their phone in the event the stress becomes too high. While rude, you can also make your exit without announcing that you are leaving. It is important to remember that your sobriety comes first.
If There Are Doubts, Don’t Go
There may be social events where you have a gut feeling that drinking or other forms of substance use are high. If your gut is telling you not to go to an event, simply don’t go. This is especially true in early recovery. This is also true if the event doesn’t have any non-alcoholic alternatives to offer or if the host won’t let you bring your own beverage.
Spirit Mountain Recovery Offers Comprehensive Aftercare
For many people in recovery, staying sober is a considerable challenge. In order to safeguard your recovery and all the hard work you put into your recovery, Spirit Mountain Recovery offers evidence-based aftercare programs tailored for your needs. Our experienced team of treatment professionals utilizes traditional and emerging therapy modalities to help you stay on the path of recovery. Our comprehensive aftercare programs are proven to work, and we offer flexible programs that fit your busy work, family, and school schedule. Strengthen your sobriety by calling Spirit Mountain Recovery toll-free right now to learn about men’s drug and alcohol rehab in Utah.