Trying to stay sober during the holidays can be a difficult endeavor for a recovering alcoholic. Most people celebrate with food and drink at holiday parties and events. If you have been alcohol dependent, it is a challenge to remain sober when most people are drinking alcohol, but it can be accomplished. Learn more about how to avoid drinking during the holidays, and ensure you stay on the path of recovery.
Perhaps you are expected to attend the office Christmas Party or some other celebratory functions. Cocktail parties are noted for their alcoholic beverages and most people attending will drink. If you feel uncomfortable about attending these events, and that they may put you at risk for relapsing, then it is best that you avoid them. Why put yourself in a situation where you will be tempted to drink? If, on the other hand, you want to attend and feel that you can manage yourself, bring a trusted friend with you. Bring someone who will help you fight off any temptation and lead you out of the party if it becomes necessary.
Drink non-alcoholic beverages and enjoy yourself without having to get drunk. There are many non-alcoholic beverages to choose from that are great-tasting and won’t harm you in any way. You may opt for a mixed juice drink, flavored water or iced tea, non-alcoholic beer, fruit smoothies etc. Bringing your own soda or other types of drinks is also an option. Take control of what you would like to drink instead of leaving the choice up to others. Learn how to assert yourself and say “no” when you have to. Don’t allow other people to bully or shame you into drinking alcohol. Stand up for yourself with a strong, polite answer. Prepare what you will say in this type of circumstance before attending the party. Preparing in advance will enable you to handle all offers to drink alcohol. You might say that you are on a special diet right now, or that your medication doesn’t allow it. Have a few answers prepared ahead of time and you will be able to fend off any pushers.
Family Members and Heightened Emotions
If you have recently had an argument with a loved one and are emotionally upset, you may want to skip the party. Being emotionally weak is not a good defense against alcohol consumption. Attend AA meetings and speak with your counselor often. Interacting with other recovering alcoholics will help to keep you strong and focused. Speak with your counselor about any pressing problems or concerns you may have. Also, include your family and friends in your recovery and be thankful that you have such an amazing support group who loves you.
Staying Spiritually Strong
Keep yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually strong. Practice your faith and depend on God to lead you and give you added strength. Pray, meditate and sing praises to God to lift yourself up. Begin to eat healthy, nutritious food and take vitamin/mineral supplements if necessary, and stay hydrated with plenty of water. Start an exercise regimen or other physical activity. You can run, dance, lift weights, do yoga or martial arts, play sports etc. Your body will become stronger and leaner and your mind will be clear and calm. Be good to yourself and get a massage or other spa treatment you would like to have. Caring for yourself holistically will bring you strength, peace and contentment.
Try New Things to Keep your Mind Occupied
Do new things that peak your interest. Perhaps you would like to take a class in woodworking, art, cooking, accounting, science or history. Go to the library or neighborhood bookstore and browse the aisles for something exciting to read. Go see a play or movie with a friend or out to dinner. If finances are low you can go to your neighborhood YMCA, go on a picnic, volunteer to help others, attend local church functions or host an event in your own home and invite a few friends. There are many ways to meet new people and enjoy life.
Get Support and have a Plan
Try to spend the holidays with people you like being with and that support your recovery. Have a plan and follow it so you can get through the holidays and into the New Year without a hitch. As time goes by, you will look back and see how far you have come. You will remember where you once were and where you are now, and you will realize how truly great your life has become!
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.