Remaining sober during the holidays can be challenging for people in recovery and especially those early in the process for whom it’s a new experience. My staff and I compiled strategies to assist you and your patients during this time of many social events. I shared six of those strategies with you last week. Here are six more:
- Develop a game plan for how you will let people know you aren’t drinking. How much information you divulge is up to you. With some people, you might just say “No thanks.” With others, you might say “I’m not drinking anymore.” Some even make a joke to create a distraction, such as “I’ve met my life quota of alcohol.”
- Be cautious about what you are eating and drinking. Holiday foods and drinks can be riddled with alcohol. Don’t be afraid to ask if that suspicious punch or French dessert contains alcohol. It’s a great way to stay sober during the holidays.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for extra support from family, friends, your counselor, or your sponsor. It’s perfectly normal in early recovery to need extra help and encouragement facing new challenges.
- Find new ways to celebrate with family and friends. Create new traditions. Try new things. And since you are changing so many things in your life, why not bring back things you used to enjoy? Go ice skating, bake cookies with the kids or grandkids, see a holiday show or play, or volunteer and give back to your community. Be open to anything new that keeps your spirit high and keeps you from pitying yourself because you aren’t having “fun” like everyone else. Don’t isolate yourself when trying to stay sober during the holidays.
- Attend a meeting. If you don’t know where to go or what to do with yourself, remember that AA and NA are often open 24 hours a day during the holidays, and schedule extra meetings for people who need additional help or just want a safe place to be.
- Remember to be grateful. Gratitude helps keep us in the right frame of mind so we remember all we have to be thankful for. Think how far you have come since entering recovery. It’s excellent motivation to stay sober during the holidays.
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