Remaining sober during the holiday season can be challenging for anyone in recovery and particularly so for those early in the process for whom it is a new experience. My staff and I compiled some strategies to assist you and your patients during this time of numerous social events. I shared six of those strategies with you last week. Here are the others for the holiday season and recovery:
1. Develop a game plan for how you will let people know you aren’t drinking. It’s up to you how much information you divulge. For some, 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 on alcohol.”
2. 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 type dessert contains alcohol.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for extra support from family, friends, your counselor, or your sponsor. It’s perfectly normally in early recovery to need extra help and encouragement during new challenges in your recovery.
4. Find new ways to celebrate with family and friends. Create new traditions is one of the tips for the holiday season and recovery. Try new things. Since you are changing so many things in your life, why not try new things or 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 spirits high and keeps you from feeling pity for yourself because you aren’t having “fun” like everyone else is best. Avoid isolating yourself.
5. Attend a meeting. If you don’t know where to go or what to do with yourself, remember that AA and NA often have 24-hour long events during the holidays for people who need some extra help or just want a safe place to be.
6. Remember to remain grateful. Gratitude helps keep us in the right head space and helps us remember all we have to be thankful for. Think how far you have come since entering recovery.
We wish you a safe and happy holiday season using these tips for the holiday season and recovery! Contact us to learn more.