It is no secret that staying sober during the holidays can be challenging. Whether you are going to your company’s holiday party or Christmas dinner at your relative’s house, it is likely that alcohol will be present. Here are some suggestions we have come up with to help you stay sober during the holidays.
Now that you are sober, it is important to prepare yourself for the holidays by creating a game plan so that you can rock all of your holiday parties and dinners with ease. Remember, with anything in life, when the WHY becomes clear, the HOW is much easier to put into action. In other words, reminding yourself of why you got sober and how great your life in recovery is will make it easier for you to stay on course and not drink. Before each holiday party or gathering, it may be helpful to write down all of the reasons why you chose to get sober, a list of reason why you’ve decided to stay better, what your life looked like before getting sober and what your life looks like today. After writing all of these reasons down, take at least 30 minutes to reflect on them. This should reinforce why you are sober and why you want/need to stay sober.
If openly sharing your sobriety is something you are uncomfortable with, it may be helpful to practice role-playing scenarios in which you practice declining drinks and/or practice sharing your story of recovery with others.
Setting firm boundaries is very helpful during this time of the year. What this will look like will vary from person to person depending on their individual needs. Whether this means only staying at your relative’s house for a few hours instead of the entire night, choosing to spend the holiday with your sober friends instead of your family who drinks too much or staying in a hotel instead of staying at your parents house, setting clear and firm boundaries and sticking to them is extremely important. Setting boundaries adds structure where structure is needed during a chaotic and sometimes stress time of year.
If you are recently sober or struggling to stay sober, it may be best this holiday season to attend parties where there is no alcohol. This will allow you to sit back, relax and enjoy yourself without being tempted or feeling overwhelmed by knowing that there is alcohol present. For some alcoholics, the sight of alcohol alone can be a trigger for them to crave a drink or even worse, relapse. For others, seeing others drink is a trigger. In the end, your sobriety is what is most important and you have to do whatever it takes to stay sober.
Whatever you chose to do this holiday season, make sure you are making decisions based off of what is best for you. Taking care of yourself and putting your needs first is critical. Whether you are newly sober or have 20+ years in recovery, the holidays can be stressful. During this time, we suggest that you stay as connected to other alcoholics as you can, attend more AA meetings and set aside more time for daily mediation and prayer.