Newfound sobriety is a precious gift; it is the most valuable gift you will receive this holiday season. A fresh lease on life, a clear mind, and a healthy body make getting free from the grip of substance use well worth the effort. Since recovery exists on a lifelong continuum, it is important to safeguard sobriety through every season—especially the holiday season.
With the holidays upon us, it is wise to engage in some careful planning and strategizing as the festivities unfold. There will be office parties, family gatherings, and holiday events to navigate deftly. Why not be on the offensive to outsmart any potential relapse triggers or landmines and still enjoy the merriment of the season.
8 Ways to Avoid Relapse During the Holiday Season
While there will be a lifetime of situations that may challenge sobriety, the holiday season seems to consolidate many of these challenges into four weeks. It pays to be mindful of these potential risks by first recommitting to sobriety, and being prepared in advance to sidestep any slip-ups. Here are eight tips for staying sober through the holidays:
- Be honest with yourself. Generations of holiday traditions are deeply ingrained into our psyches. Know that attending holiday bashes will involve the temptation to participate in the festivities. Be mindful as you accept invitations to holiday events, sifting out the ones that you know have the highest potential to trip you up.
- Attend extra meetings. During the holiday season sentimentality and wistful memories of holidays past can be triggers to return to substance use. Regardless of how few or many parties you plan to attend, attending extra meetings during the holidays can help bolster your resolve to choose sobriety.
- Keep a drink in hand. When at a holiday event, be on the offensive by keeping a glass of sparkling water or some other non-alcoholic beverage in your hand. This helps to stave off people who might offer a glass of this or that if they see an empty hand.
- Take along a sober friend. Sometimes having that sober buddy next to you is a great insurance plan for avoiding trouble at holiday festivities. You can watch each other’s backs and have someone there in your corner to chat with if the scene becomes risky. It also makes leaving early easy, just stating that your friend has to get somewhere.
- Have an exit plan. Regardless of all the strategizing for protecting your sobriety and preventing relapse, sometimes the scene is just too tempting to manage actively. Go to events with an exit strategy in place. Start by mentioning to the host or your boss that you have another commitment later and can only stay a short time, which will give you an easy out.
- Rehearse your lines. If you are attending an event and someone badgers you about why you are not drinking, have a couple of rehearsed responses at your disposal. Practice your lines a few times before the party so the words will flow like honey.
- Change it up. There is nothing written in stone that says you have to stick to old traditions. Why not host your own sober party? Have a pot luck, light a fire in the fireplace, play some party games, and have a white elephant gift exchange. Redefine what a holiday party can look like.
- Reduce holiday stress. The holiday season can be stressful and overwhelming. When it comes to recovery, it is important for stress to be managed. Use relaxation techniques to help reduce stress, such as deep breathing exercises, therapeutic massage, practicing mindfulness, or taking yoga classes.
It is absolutely possible to enjoy a joyous holiday season while remaining committed to your recovery through these helpful hints.
Ashley Addiction Treatment is an innovative treatment program located on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Ashley provides support for professionals seeking help with addiction. We are able to help people with co-occurring disorders and offer confidential treatment programs to meet your needs. Please reach out to us today at (800) 799-4673.