At Christmas time triggers seem to be everywhere. From parties to family gatherings, alcohol consumption is the norm.
As wonderful a time of year this is, there are also a lot of pressures and expectations that go along with it. The holidays bring about an over-indulgence in everything we do. We shop and spend too much. Financial pressures are heavy. We eat more than we need.
Whether it be unhealthy family dynamics, financial pressures, late nights, or alcohol being served everywhere we go, the temptation to ease the stress, is great.
Here are some tips to help you get through the holiday with your sobriety intact.
Make preparations in advance. Make sure you have the contact information for your sponsor, therapist, or trusted friend who is helping you stay sober, and determine their availability ahead of time in case you need to talk. If you are travelling out of town, bring reading material that inspires and relaxes you, such as a journal and books that help relieve stress. Consider attending support meetings available at your destination.
When attending parties, arrive early and depart early. Alcohol and drug use becomes more intense as the night goes on. To avoid offending the host, let them know that you may need to leave early because of another commitment. Don’t let them talk you into staying. Your sobriety is the most important thing.
Bring your own beverages to holiday parties. You will have control over what you drink and won’t mistakenly drink beverages that have been spiked with alcohol or drugs. Your host may not know you are in recovery, or may not take the importance of recovery seriously. For them, it’s no big deal, for you, it can be a matter of life or death.
Have an escape plan from family gatherings. If the situation arises at a family gathering where an argument takes place that gives you anxiety, you feel pressure from relatives, or are feeling tempted to drink or do drugs, you need to remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible. Think about the possibility of these things happening ahead of time so you have a plan of action in place. It will help you make a good decision.
Remember that YOU are the one in control of your sobriety. You must take full responsibility and do what is necessary to stay sober. In the end, that is what’s most important.
Wishing you safe and sober holiday season!