Maintaining Sobriety during the holidays

Maintaining Sobriety during the holidays

The holidays are quickly approaching, and this can be a simultaneously cheerful and strenuous time for people. The holidays can be particularly difficult and stressful for those in recovery. Relationships with family and friends can often be tense during these times. The pressure to attend gatherings and parties with family and friends can be extremely anxiety-provoking. The idea of maintaining sobriety at parties and gatherings when recreational substances are present and easily accessible is also difficult. The holidays can be a joyous time, but also put an intense strain on those dealing with recovery.

Though the holiday times can be difficult for those maintaining sobriety, there are many ways to be successful. Support is plentiful during this time of year – in the form of NA, AA, or 12 step meetings. There are also a multitude of online sources available with tips on how you can best prepare yourself for success this season. The internet is a great resource for practical ideas on how to maintain sobriety, and we have a few tips for this holiday season.

The most significant tip for the holidays is to have a strategy for sobriety. This means planning ahead and setting yourself up for success, including things like setting up phone calls with your sponsor or a reliable friend or family member prior to your holiday gatherings. This step also includes bringing your own non alcoholic drinks to consume or having your own form of transportation so you are able to leave the gathering at any time. Making prior arrangements to the holiday event to ensure that you are in a supported place, and that you aren’t putting yourself in a triggering situation will be monumental to your recovery.

Another part of setting yourself up for success is avoiding known triggers. These can be physical or emotional triggers. Being around family and friends can be an increased stresser on you and it’s necessary to recognize that to protect yourself. Emotional stress can be a relapse trigger for some and emotional stress can heighten around family or during gatherings. Assess the situation, and if you know a certain family member or event will be a trigger for relapse, plan to limit your contact with that person or event or to avoid it altogether. Always remember that saying no (to a person or event) is perfectly acceptable in order to protect yourself and your sobriety. 

The last helpful tip we have is to create new traditions of your own for the holidays. You should be excited to celebrate your sobriety and the newfound control that you have over your own life. A sober party is a great new tradition to implement to celebrate the holiday season. If you aren’t able to do this, making a tradition like doing community service can be extremely rewarding as well. It can bring a lot of joy to you just by bringing joy to others. Additionally, the enjoyment you receive from these activities will be inflated by your decision to remain sober. Making new sober traditions for the holidays is fundamental for your success during this time. 

Many of us also experience feelings of isolation during this time of the year which can be difficult to deal with. Some of us are not able or even interested in meeting with family or friends. It’s critical in these times to establish a new normal as well as take care of ourselves. Community service and helping others serve as great ways for combatting feelings of isolation and promoting spiritual growth. You could take this time to volunteer, serve meals at a homeless shelter, or be part of a food drive. As mentioned before, bringing others joy during

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