The holidays are now upon us and with them come those longtime alcohol-related traditions—hot buttered rum, spiked eggnog, all the toasts and revelry—that can make navigating these booby-traps to your sobriety a tad tricky. There is only one person who will be looking out for your wellbeing and managing your recovery during these festivities, and that person is you. Sure, your sponsor will be available to you and your family will be sensitive to your recovery goals, but practically speaking the only one who can truly keep your feet squarely on the recovery path is that one you see in the bathroom mirror.
So, with the self-accountability factor understood, how will you wind through all the holiday events with your recovery intact? What strategy will you put in place to make it to January 2nd without a slip? As unsexy as it may sound to plan a non-alcoholic holiday season, being proactive and intuitive when facing the upcoming festivities is just plan smart. To assist with the strategic planning, here are some ideas for managing the holidays, and recovery tips to boot:
8 Ways to Navigate the Holidays and Recovery Tips
- Be honest with yourself. Generations of holiday traditions are deeply engrained into our psyches. For someone who spent a number of years over-indulging in drugs or drink at the holidays it is challenging to suddenly banish those behaviors. Understand that there will be triggers to participate in the festivities that are hardwired into our memories and confront them head on. Be mindful as you accept invitations to this or that event, running them through the mental filter that can sift out the ones that will trip you up. Just skip those entirely.
- Always drive yourself. Do not be at the mercy of anyone else for a ride home. If you sense you are weakening or feel uncomfortable with all the drunk or high people at an event, having your car available will aid in a quick getaway. No need to sit there and gut it out, just split.
- Beverage in hand. At the annual office holiday party, or any party for that matter, it is much easier to ward off the generous offers of booze, shots, or champagne if you have a tumbler filled with club soda and lime (or any non-alcoholic beverage) permanently affixed to your hand.
- Change it up. Maybe the best way to negotiate the potential triggers that lurk at the usual holiday venues is to just reinvent how you do the holidays now in recovery. There is nothing set in stone that says you have to attend Uncle Walt’s annual sloshfest or your usual New Year’s Eve haunt. Get creative with some sober friends and family members and do something totally different this year.
- Practice your lines. When you simply cannot bail on an event, such as the office party, it helps to come prepared with some well prepared replies when/if coworkers start nosing in on why you don’t appear to be drinking. Rehearse a couple of easy responses ahead of time so they will just roll off the tongue when needed, such as “I am feeling a cold coming on so going easy tonight,” or “Gotta get up with the birds for my son’s basketball tournament tomorrow.” Or, if you want, just tell them you aren’t drinking anymore and leave it at that.
- Check in with yourself. The month ahead will present more challenges to your recovery than the other eleven months of the year. It will help you keep your head straight if you regularly journal, chat with a therapist, or meditate on the emotions you experience during the holiday season. Whether it is wistful nostalgia, feelings of isolation or loneliness, or just the stress of the season, honestly acknowledging these emotions by writing them down or discussing them can help you stay the course.
- Recruit a buddy. Have someone available who can accompany you to holiday events as a sober buddy, and plan to reciprocate when they also need a sober companion at their side. It helps to have someone else who also isn’t drinking alongside you at these happenings, making you feel less conspicuous and more supported.
- Find the meaning. Most people who make it to the other side of an addiction are highly grateful for the new lease on life. The holiday season is an excellent time to take stock, acknowledge your many blessings, and to be mindful of the absolute beauty all around you. No alcohol required.
Beit Hillel Sobriety Helps Clients Embrace the Holidays and Recovery Tips
Beit Hillel Sobriety is a leading sober living community located in Los Angeles, California. Early recovery can be vulnerable during the holidays, and Beit Hillel Sobriety truly understands this by helping clients manage the holidays, and recovery tips to support their long-term goals. For more information about our sober living housing, please contact Beit Hillel today at (866) 818-0321.