A Message To Anyone Who Struggles To Stay Sober During The Holidays
So many of us have spent years pleasing others, only to drive ourselves deeper into addiction. It may surprise you how fun the holidays can be once you remove some of the stressors. Maybe this year the Christmas budget is slim because of the ravages of addiction. Instead of dwelling on the number of gifts under the tree, focus on the experiences you create. Research has proven that experiences are more valuable to children than objects. If you can’t afford to buy each child the latest tech gadget, think of a Christmas experience you can manage within your budget. So deep, in fact, that when he does ask for juice, his parents give him lectures on how it’s unhealthy and full of sugar.
Sadly, today we have gotten away from much of the true meaning of the holidays. Instead of taking time out to relax and enjoy our families and friends we often race around to prepare for company and buy gifts to impress and wow. However, this is really not what the holidays are about. This running around and trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list can cause a lot of stress. Be prepared and set a plan for each event or celebration you will attend.
- For others, it is a nice wintery mix of celebration and chaos.
- However, it’s a trying time for anyone who struggles with addiction.
- More and more people are bustling about, finishing up their last-minute shopping lists.
- Maybe you find yourself binging on Internet browsing or simply ignoring phone calls from family members.
- However, this is really not what the holidays are about.
In The Temper’s The Ultimate Guide to Get Through the Holidays Sober, we’re here to help you during this oh-so-confusing time of year. Continuously reminding yourself why you are sober during turbulent times can be a real savior. If you are the host, let guests know that alcohol will not be provided and that they should bring their own if they want it. Our guests sometimes bring alcohol, other times they choose not to drink either. As the years have gone by, each outing and gathering has gotten easier. Maintaining sobriety can be especially hard during the holiday season when you can feel pressure from family or colleagues to indulge. Here are some ways to resist peer pressure and honor your commitment.
The holidays can be especially stressful for those recovering from an alcohol use disorder because alcohol is such a central part of many celebrations. If you expect to be offered a drink, think about how you will respond. A simple yet firm “no, thank you” is often enough, especially since long explanations and vague excuses can give you more opportunity to give in. Remember, as a host, it’s your party and you can imbibe if you want to, but others may not have the luxury. A little consideration goes a long way to making your event, and the holidays in general, more inclusive and enjoyable for everyone. If you’re not close to a person, or if you’re unaware they have a substance use disorder, this might not be an option.
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What about inviting your family or co-workers to join a neighborhood caroling group? Familiar holiday traditions and big group gatherings in a sober environment can be a big help in making the holidays feel special. Many of these events also take time during the day, when it’s less likely that alcohol will be present. Sometimes, it seems like alcohol is everywhere. It fills the glasses of our friends and family members at nearly every kind of celebration, whether for a promotion, new baby or in most cases, the esteemed holiday party. Remind yourself that just one drink usually leads to more. Think of all the work you’ve already accomplished to get to this point, whether you have gone through recovery or rehab or spent time away from your family.
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- No matter which holidays you celebrate this time of year, there’s no doubt that most will have some sort of liquor present.
- But when you’re in relapse, you can’t necessarily partake in the same activities, especially if you’re hoping to have a sober holiday.
- How the hell do you stay sober over the holidays?
- Family members expect holiday perfection, and they often demand every ounce of your time and energy—and patience.
- Stay connected to recovery, even if it’s less than normal.
Working together to help others is a great way to bond. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to think in advance about how you’ll navigate this, etiquette expert Elaine Swann tells Yahoo Life. Avoid triggers – The holidays are stressful for everyone, and emotional triggers are the most significant.
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And, when it comes to being new to sobriety, you may feel even more pressure to get the perfect gifts. Often, when someone gets sober, they begin to see the harm they may have unintentionally done to family and loved ones. Many times, we then want to try to ‘make up’ for that pain that was caused. In our society, we have often come to expect presents and gifts as ways to repair the damage. However, this isn’t how real healing and repair happen.
Practice extreme self-care and reward yourself. Stay hydrated, take baths or showers, keep your meditation practice (or if you don’t have one,start a meditation practice), set aside time to journal, eat good food, and relax. Decide what it is now, decide when you’ll do it, make the arrangements to carry it out, put it on your calendar, and do it.
- As warmer days turn cold, don’t become stressed as you turn the calendar another month closer to the holiday season.
- If you’re in Al-anon, you obsess about your family member’s drinking.
- If you have some strategies prepared in advance, you’ll find this situation much easier to navigate.
- Take an inventory of how things went at the party.
It will help you avoid the repeated question from other partygoers about what you might like to drink. Maybe it’s difficult for you to get through those quiet evenings or weekends at home where you only worry about the next family gathering or work social. If you find yourself struggling with the upcoming holiday festivities, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get involved in other activities during the holidays. The spiritual aspects of forgiveness and letting go can be especially healing during the holiday season. If you have practiced religion in the past and want to return or strengthen it, this could be a good time to dive right in. As warmer days turn cold, don’t become stressed as you turn the calendar another month closer to the holiday season.
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This year, don’t let the guilt or shame of past years make you go beyond your means. With limited inventory and delays in shipping, it may be even harder to find the perfect gift for everyone this year.
Road trip – it can be very rejuvenating to take some time off work and drive to a different part of the state or country. Adventure excursions – many state and national parks don’t allow alcohol, and some companies specialize in offering alcohol-free travel adventures. I’m not an addiction specialist nor am I here to judge. I’m a registered psychotherapist, conscious parent, and someone who’s benefited tremendously from sharing a substance-free relationship for several years. As an industry professional 12 Keys has become one of my most trusted resources.
The holidays may mean being brought back to places and parties where you used to have fun and use drugs or alcohol. You may run into old friends from your using days, old friends who are back in town, and those who will remind you of substance use. You may find yourself grieving relationships and ties that were broken during the holiday season.
Christmas dinners, New Years Eve parties and even religious celebrations can seem to bombard someone who is trying to stay sober during the holiday season. You turn down a glass of red wine at a family dinner and deny yourself a champagne toast at the stroke of midnight to welcome the New Year. But while you’re enjoying yourself and your sober holiday lifestyle, it’s easy to feel alone. While the holidays are a time of celebrating with family and friends, they can also be a time of tension and stress. American culture places alcohol at the center of most of our celebrations, making the holiday especially challenging for those in recovery. Alcohol addiction is a chronic disease, and individuals in recovery are constantly faced with challenges and potential triggers.
Don’t defend, don’t swing back, and find POWER in your ability to not engage and perpetuate bad energy. I always make sure to note this does not mean “Do not stand up for yourself” or “Just deal with abuse.” No, it doesn’t mean that. There is a difference between people being dicks and people being harmful. If you’re not part of our community, you can look to the many organizations to findonline gatherings of sober folkson the holidays. How the hell do you stay sober over the holidays? According to the National Institutes of Health, your typical beer has over 150 calories, a glass of red wine is about 125, and a shot of spirits over 100 calories . By not drinking during the holidays, you can allocate those calories to better use – like stocking up at the dessert table.
Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Learn the best ways to manage stress and negativity in your life. You can also exit with an “Irish goodbye,” when you sneak out without telling anyone. While this may seem rude, it might be necessary if you feel as if your sobriety is in jeopardy. John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health .
Pop a hard candy in your mouth when you feel yourself getting nervous or worrying about what other people might think. Move on to another part of the room or change the group of people you might be surrounded by. No matter what’s causing you to have a less than stellar time, find a way to change it. Not every sober holidays happy moment has to be celebrated with a glass of bubbly. One of the great things about the holiday season is that there are plenty of alternatives out there. Instead of waiting for all of your friends to invite you to their next mixer or cocktail party, invite them to your sober celebration of the holidays.
Find Your Community This Holiday Season
However, it’s a trying time for anyone who struggles with addiction. Fortunately, using these tips can help you prevent relapse. If you find yourself needing more help, The Willows at Red Oak Recovery® offers some of the best relapse prevention NC has to offer for women.
Try to find a local meeting long before you arrive and build it into your holiday schedule. If you are traveling for the holidays, reach out to people you are close to and explain to them that you may need extra support during the holidays. Ask them if it would be OK to contact them every now and then. There is also no rule saying that you have to attend every party you’re invited to. Your health and stability are far more valuable than one night of holiday celebration.
While consumption in pubs and bars, which were closed, fell dramatically, drinking at home increased. Drinking alone went up, and 2020 was the worst year for alcohol-related deaths for 20 years; more than 7,000 were recorded. For some, however, the pandemic has spurred a health drive.
Perhaps you can cook some of your favorite meals and share them with a friends or family virtually if that is an option. But if that isn’t your thing you can find a lot of free material online. You can make a list of all of the benefits of being sober throughout the holidays.
When you were a child, holidays probably had a magical feeling attached to them. Maybe you decorated trees, gathered with friends and gave gifts. Or perhaps you spent quality time with your family. As an adult, however, so many holidays revolve around the use of alcohol. If those thoughts begin to creep https://ecosoberhouse.com/ in—those rationalizations about your eminent capability to now handle your liquor—shut them down immediately. Your abstinence did not, in fact, teach you how to control your drinking, because abstinence didn’t rewire your brain to be non-addicted. Instead, talk it out with your sponsor or sober friends.