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Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

November 30, 2020

With the holiday season approaching, those who have been in recovery from substance use disorder may be looking for advice on staying sober during the holiday celebrations. At South Hills Recovery Project, we have put together some strategic tips to help those in recovery support their sobriety over the next few months of holiday parties and gatherings.

Make a Plan

It is recommended that you always drive yourself to holiday parties so that you can control when you leave. You may also consider taking a sober companion with you who can provide support and help you pay attention to your relapse triggers. By driving yourself, you can arrive early and leave early as needed.

Be Mindful of Your Limits with Family

We all have a family member or two who tend to criticize our life choice in our career, spouse, etc. and who make it a point to make us feel bad about ourselves. You may also have that family member who will try to push you to have a drink, or you may have a strained family relationship that has been tense for years.
This type of stress can cause us to rationalize that we are entitled to having a drink. Try to surround yourself with the loved ones who have your best interest in mind and who want to help you stay clean and sober.

Surround Yourself with Support

The holiday season can be overwhelming, especially for those who are in recovery, so while making your plans for the next few months, be sure to add in 12-step support. You could bookend holiday events with phone calls to someone you know that is in recovery before and after attending. You can also commit to attending at least one 12-step meeting each day and inviting a friend to attend with you.
If you are traveling for the holidays, look for meetings in that city or see if you can get on a phone meeting.

Avoid Your Triggers

The holiday season is one of the most stressful times of the year for many of us. For those in recovery, the most significant trigger can be emotional triggers during the holidays. With busy days, lots of activities, and interruptions to the normal routine, you may become frustrated or anxious.

Other stresses, such as demands from family, friends, and spouses, can also lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment, anger, etc. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to certain commitments to ensure that you don’t become overwhelmed or resentful. Emotional triggers can be detrimental to your recovery, so it is best to take care of yourself and say “no” when you need to.

Create New Traditions

Being in recovery means that you are re-establishing your life, giving you the opportunity to affirm your new self during the holiday season. Consider throwing a sober gathering with other friends who are in recovery, volunteering at your local 12-step support group, or creating a new holiday tradition you can share with friends and family as a celebration of your sobriety.

Have a Non-Alcoholic Beverage Ready

As soon as you arrive at a party, be sure to grab a non-alcoholic beverage and keep it in your hand throughout the event. You can choose anything from soda to sparkling water to help prevent people from constantly offering you a drink. In reality, everyone is there to have fun, and it’s not likely that anyone is paying attention to what you are drinking.

Addiction Treatment Resources

If you or a loved one are seeking addiction treatment in South Hills, Contact South Hills Recovery Project today to learn more about how we can help!

Dr. Clark
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