Maintaining sobriety is something be proud of, whether you’re a few days, months, or years in. It requires commitment and hard work. When the holidays roll around, this can be an especially challenging time. The end of the year tends to be filled with celebrations where people give themselves permission to overindulge, be it with food or drinks. And knowing that parties will be filled with alcohol can make celebrations more difficult for those in recovery. They want to be social, but they also don’t want to put themselves in risky situations.
Here are a few ways that you can prepare for the holidays while still staying true to your recovery:
Have a plan. Be picky about the invites you accept, and prepare in advance for how you will handle certain situations. Go early before the festivities really get underway and people have had time to drink too much. Or, pick parties where you know drinking will not be involved – you could even host your own and create some festive mocktails. When you’re at events, hold onto your drink so you know it’s alcohol-free and doesn’t get mixed up with anyone else’s.
Learn to say no. You don’t have to accept every party or event invite you receive. You don’t have to stay from start to finish. You don’t have to agree to help. You don’t have to have “just one drink” or “just a sip” to celebrate. Be firm in your commitment to your recovery and your decisions. It is your choice, and you don’t owe anyone an explanation. If you want to give a reason, say you’re busy, you have an early morning, you have other plans, or you already have a drink.
Seek support. Prepare in advance by attending a support group meeting so you’re feeling confident and in a positive frame of mind. You can also ask a close family member or friend to go to a party with you as a source of support. Then you have someone to hang out with who you know will not be drinking either and can help you make good choices. If you do feel uncomfortable or tempted to drink, know who you can call and how you can leave the situation.
Practice self-care. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by the holidays and overcome by stress. Take time to unwind and relax. Go about your normal routine of eating well, getting enough sleep, and practicing yoga or meditation. If you’ve had a busy day or two, plan for some downtime so you can re-energize and re-focus.
If the holidays get the best of you and you realize that your substance use has gotten out of control, or you’ve had a relapse, seek help. Seacliff offers a variety of treatment options to help you overcome addiction and get back on track. Do what is best for you, your health, and your future. Make the choice to enter treatment and get the help you need.
Have you realized that your drinking has become problematic this holiday season? Find out how Seacliff can help you with recovery.