Sunday, November 19, 2017

15 Tips to Stay Sober this Holiday Season

With the Thanksgiving holiday coming at us; and Hanuka; Christmas, and the New Year right around the corner I wanted to share some useful tips for staying clean and sober during the holidays.  The holidays can be a hard time for many people, but for those in recovery they can be especially trying on our sobriety.  Often we miss loved ones whom are no longer with us the most during the holiday season; or perhaps we are living away from family and their absence rises painfully to the surface.  Quite possibly we’ll be faced with situations that will try our serenity.  Regardless of the scenario, seemingly overwhelming feelings combined with the higher frequency booze filled soirees can be a lethal combination for the sake of our sobriety.  Here then are some tips to help you stay sober through this holiday season; and at parties throughout the coming year.  We’ll start with some in depth tips and then finish off with 12 essential tips.

1. Be prepared.

Having a few lines ready for when you may have to turn down a drink, or turn down a holiday party all together, can make these instances of temptation less stressful. Unless you feel comfortable doing so, you do not have to disclose that you’re in recovery to everyone you encounter. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you don’t want to have that drink. A simple “No thank you, but I’ll take a Diet Coke,” is sufficient. I find having a beverage of choice always in hand to be incredibly useful.  Being prepared and planning ahead for what you’ll say will make staying sober over the holidays much less stressful. 

2. Choose holiday parties wisely.

The holidays are a time spent with friends and family, so avoiding every party you receive an invitation too is not realistic. Occasionally, there will be gatherings that are important to you – that you wish to attend – where alcohol will be flowing freely. If you choose to attend a party where alcohol or drugs are present, ask yourself honestly:  ‘Is this an event that is truly meant for sharing quality time together? Would all the attendees still be there even if alcohol was not being served?‘ If the answer is no, then it may be best to steer clear. Staying sober is the most important thing for you; a few hours at a party are not worth risking

3. Plan an escape route.

If you are attending an event where people will be drinking make sure you can leave if you begin to feel strong urges or simple feel uncomfortable around the other guests. When possible, go with a sober friend so you can keep each other accountable.

1.            Plan each and every day of your holiday season. Plan to spend the majority of your time with friends and family who are supportive of your recovery.
2.            Find a meeting in your area. Many groups have special meetings during the holidays to share their experience, strength, and hope. Check the local papers for a meeting near you.
3.            Ask for support from family and friends. Those who are truly supportive of your recovery will be happy to help you throughout the holidays.
4.            Have a list of ten people you can call. Make a list and check it twice. Carry your cell phone and list of names at all times.
5.            Don’t forget about regular exercise. Regular exercise is an essential component of any balanced recovery program.
6.            Stay away from slippery places. There is absolutely no reason to ever check out your former favorite establishments.
7.            Create new traditions to replace your old using patterns. Buy a new board game or take the family on a sleigh ride. Use your imagination, be creative, and have fun.
8.            Write out a daily gratitude list. The quickest cure to get you out of the holiday blues is by counting your blessings and be grateful for what you have every morning.
9.            Volunteer your services to a charitable organization. There are many people in your community who are less fortunate than you. You will be helping not only the needy but yourself!
10.          Write a letter to yourself – “How I stayed sober over the holidays.” The act of writing your ideas on paper is very powerful. Write down all the activities and events that will help you have a healthy, happy, and sober holiday season.
11.          Avoid H.A.L.T. – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. If you are hungry, get something to eat. If you are angry, talk to somebody about it. Feeling lonely? Go to a meeting or call a friend. If you are tired, get a good night’s sleep.
12.          Live one day at a time and enjoy your sobriety. Stay in the moment and live one day at a time. Never mind about what happened or what could happen. Enjoy today. Live today. Celebrate your sobriety!

Remember to use your recovery tools during this holiday season!  N


© 2017 The Way Out Podcast

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