In our society, it really seems like every occasion is viewed as an opportunity to drink. Sporting events, a night out to dinner, and holiday parties are all places where alcohol will be found. This makes it very difficult for someone trying to stay sober to steer clear of temptation. The holidays can be especially difficult, with all the extra socializing that takes place. You can do your best to stay away from alcohol, but chances are you’re going to run into it every once in a while. Here are some tips for navigating the minefield of holiday triggers and staying sober.
Change it Up
If your family traditions tend to be centered around eating, drinking and being merry, you might be feeling like the odd man out. You don’t have to choose between isolating yourself or exposing yourself to unsafe situations. You can lead the way to new traditions in your family that are focused on healthy forms of celebration. Those who love and support you will be happy to follow along.
Boredom can lead to depression and cravings, especially during the holidays. There is a lot of extra activity going on this time of year, so reach outside of your comfort zone and participate in something new. Volunteer for community aid events. This will get you into the real spirit of Christmas and help you along in your 12-step program as well. Attend extra support groups where you can get some added perspective and help others along their way as well.
Focus on Recovery
The holidays are no excuse to take a break from recovery, and in fact, you should probably double up your effort during this emotional time of year. You can maximize your opportunities to reconnect with family and friends. Be sure to attend all of your recovery meetings and appointments as well, and keep up with your daily recovery tasks. Staying on top of the little things makes all the difference between having a happy holiday or a stressful one.
Party With a Plan
When attending parties and other gatherings, be sure to have a plan in place that keeps you comfortable and safe. Bring a friend or family member along who will stay sober with you and help keep you out of trouble. It’s also a good idea to bring your own drink, just in case there’s not a healthy option provided for you when you get there. Practice saying “no” to offers for drinks from others so you won’t find yourself saying “yes” at the wrong time.
Lee Williams, LCSW, SUDC is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Substance Use Disorder Counselor. He graduated from the University of Utah with a Master’s Degree in Social Work and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology with Certification in Criminology and Corrections. He is currently working on a Master’s Degree in Public Administration. His professional experience in the field of addiction has been centered on mental health and forensic social work. Lee has actively worked in a 12-step approach to the treatment of substance use disorder for over a decade. In addition to his love for working in the field of addiction, Lee’s greatest joys are in his experiences as a husband and father.