The holidays are an especially challenging time for those in recovery. There are parties and social gatherings left and right, and it’s almost certain that alcohol will be served. As someone who is newly sober, you may worry about protecting your sobriety and whether you’re strong enough to avoid relapse.
While it may seem easiest to avoid social events altogether, it’s not necessary as long as you decide to be extra vigilant about staying sober. Here are 7 ways to handle the holidays if you are in recovery:
1. Plan Ahead
You don’t have to attend every party you’re invited to. Be smart and avoid gatherings where you know you will be surrounded by people who may have contributed to your alcoholism, or where you may struggle to say no when offered a drink.
2. Give Yourself a Pre-Party Pep Talk
Before heading out, commit to having fun without needing a drink. Get yourself excited for bonding and catching up with family, friends, or colleagues. Believe that great conversation and laughs don’t have to be fueled by alcohol.
3. Bring Your Own Drinks
If common alcoholic behavior includes sneaking alcohol into typically non-alcoholic environments, you can turn the tables and sneak in your own non-alcoholic beverages. By always having a drink in hand, you can prevent people from offering you an alcoholic drink that you may be tempted to take so as not to be rude.
4. Have a Response Prepared
Throughout the party, the host or others may offer you something to drink when they notice you don’t have one in hand. Simply saying “no thanks” can bring questions about why you’re not drinking. You don’t have to tell everyone that you’re in recovery. Giving them a response like “I’m driving tonight” or “I’ve got an early morning tomorrow” is fine. Especially if you’re not prepared to have the “I’m in recovery” conversation with people you barely know from the office.
5. Create New Traditions
If the holidays in the past meant eggnog with brandy, spiked apple cider, or rum cake, then it’s time for new holiday traditions. Discover delicious drink and dessert recipes that will be your new favorites for many holidays to come.
6. Avoid Stressful Environments
The holidays put a lot of pressure on people to find the perfect gifts, decorate the house just right, or host out-of-town guests. Do your holiday shopping online if malls and crowds are triggers. And if you know you can’t deal with guests living in your home over the holidays, explain why and make other arrangements. Don’t give in to the stress and focus on the greatest gift you’ve given yourself this year – your sobriety.
7. Attend Gatherings with Your Sponsor or a Sober Companion
Your sponsor, sober coach, or sober companion can accompany you to social events and help you avoid triggers. Sober companions are trained and experienced to help you maintain recovery while providing compassionate accountability and friendship.
The Right Way offers skilled sober companion services for events that may be a trigger for relapse such as holiday parties, reunions, and even long-distance travel to visit relatives. Contact us today to learn more. (619) 630-7844