The holiday season is upon us and can be extra difficult when you are working to stay sober and not relapse. When it seems like everyone else is enjoying drinks and parties, how can you still have a good time with friends, family, and other loved ones while avoiding the use of drugs and alcohol?
Here are some tips to try:
1. Connect with Your Sober Network
The community you have built may not be who you are around on the actual holidays. Time spent with family members, who support you but do not fully understand what you’re going through can not help in tough moments.
Staying in touch with your sponsor and sober friends throughout the holidays will prevent you from reaching the point of possible relapse.
Extra help is always needed around the holidays at soup kitchens and gift-giving centers. Spend some of your holiday time helping those in need. You won’t think about relapsing when you are serving others.
3. Be Socially Selective
Just because you are invited to a party does mean you have to attend. Choose carefully. Which events make you feel comfortable and which ones worry you a bit? Say YES to the first ones and NO, thank you, to the others. Sobriety must be your top priority.
4. Bring Your New Drink of Choice
Is there a sparkling cider or grape juice you really enjoy? By having your go-to beverage on hand, and ready to pour into the extra glass at your place setting, you can avoid an awkward moment of a full glass of wine placed in front of you.
Build in time for a walk, a jog, a yoga class, a trip to the gym, or any other way you get your body moving. The extra stress, and food, this time of year add additional reasons to return to substances. Give yourself some natural endorphins through activity as a way to proactively avoid a relapse.
This time of year can take us away from the routine that works the rest of the months. Eating more than we normally eat at one sitting, having more social engagements which takes time away from exercise and relaxation, and being around more people on a regular basis can make us feel off-track.
Without proper self-care around the holidays, things can feel out of control. At moments of difficulty, remember what you like to do. Self-care can be as simple as finding a quiet room and meditating for 10 minutes, going for a walk around the block, or listening to a calming song.
7. Create an Action Plan
Picture yourself at a family event or a holiday get together feeling uncomfortable. What do you do? How do you take care of yourself in that moment and do what is best for you? By developing a plan of action when you need to remove yourself from a difficult situation, you will avoid feeling pressured, annoyed, irritated, or in need of an escape that will lead to a relapse.
Stay in touch with how you feel at any given moment, and do your best to reduce feelings of hunger, anger, tiredness, or loneliness to avoid a relapse this holiday season.