If there is one sure fire way to test your serenity this holiday season, it is spending extensive amounts of time with family and around people who are ringing in the new year with booze and whatever else they may like. However, just because everyone around you is losing their cool over buying the perfect present, or taking the perfect Christmas tree photo, doesn’t mean you have to. Here are a few tips for Staying Sober and keeping your sanity during the holidays this year.
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Staying Sober – Keep Bringing it Back to the Basics
If you live away from home and will be traveling back there this year – don’t leave your program at home. Pack that book in your carry-on and keep it close, you are going to need it. Even if your family is beautiful and wonderful and loving, it can still get a little dodgy for us if we aren’t actively utilizing our spiritual toolkit. For example…
- Plan out some Meetings Ahead of Time: If you are one of the people that never tried getting sober during the holidays in your hometown, it can be wise to plan out some local meetings AHEAD of time.
- This way, it is a lot harder for you to back out once you get there.
- It can be really easy for us to just procrastinate our meetings if we don’t an idea of where we want to go ahead of time (or is that just me?)
- Set aside a Certain Time of Day that you will be Reaching out to your Sponsor: This might sound silly, but if you and your sponsor have a SET time every day that you know you will chat, it is almost something to look forward to.
- It can sort of help break up the day, especially if you seem to get sucked into a vortex of people and activities and kids running around and someone getting annoyed at someone else, etc.
- This will be almost like a little meditation time that you can count on every day, and if the time is set beforehand, you won’t have to worry about your sponsor potentially not answering the phone.
- Don’t Forget to Meditate! : This is crucial, again, we can get so wrapped up in all of the moving parts of family members getting together and running around and cooking and whatever, that we can forget to take time for ourselves.
- Keeping in touch with even just a minute or 5 minutes of meditation a day will help keep us from exploding at our crazy aunt who asks us every year why we haven’t gotten married yet, or when we plan to have kids or whatever.
- That little meditation is to allow us to maintain serenity and to keep the ability to utilize that “God-Pause”, aka, that split second between a stimulus and our either reaction. Meditation allows us to use that pause to come from a place of compassion rather than anger.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Excuse Yourself from Situations: I think a big fact that we often forget about our families, is that we don’t have to overcompensate for lost time. Just because you had a drinking or a drug problem, doesn’t mean that you have to sit with them while they drink or get high, especially if it makes you uncomfortable.
- What I mean by this is, if you have a big drinking family, you already know what it’s like. Don’t be afraid to leave the room and call up a sober support to chat, or try to figure out a meeting close by.
- The thing is, you may not feel like you want to drink, but you’ve heard the saying, “If you go to the barbershop enough, you’re going to get a haircut.”
- This is more self-preservation than worrying about if your family will be upset that you aren’t sitting alongside them while they drink. Chances are, once they get sauced up enough, they won’t even notice if you are popping in and out throughout the night.
- Similarly, don’t feel Pressure to hang out with your Old Friends: This one is especially true if they are still doing the same old stuff they have always done, and especially if they don’t understand or respect your sobriety.
- It can be hard for people who do not suffer from or understand alcoholism or drug addiction. The first time I went home, I cannot tell you how many people asked me why I couldn’t just have one. Of course, like a good addict/alcoholic, my mind immediately went to… wait, could I?
- This can be a very dangerous road, especially for people who are still pretty new and haven’t finished their steps or had the opportunity to carry the message to others.
- On the other hand, if you have some friends back home who have gotten sober as well, latch onto them and try to hit all the meetings that they go to.
For Those Who Aren’t Going Home
There are a lot of people who don’t get to home for the holidays, and it is understandable if you are missing your family during this time. It can seem like you are going to miss out on the memories, and you might be a little homesick. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have an enjoyable time being sober during the holidays wherever it is you live now. Here are some helpful tips that I used during those three years that I didn’t get to go home for the holidays!
- Find Out Early On Which of Your Friends Will be Around: It’s good to know that you won’t be alone, and you should definitely make time to hang out with these people!
- If you live in a warm area, maybe get a group of people together and plan something fun, whether it be a camping trip or a deep sea fishing excursion.
- The point here is to stay busy. The longer you sit and think about being homesick, the more you are going to want to numb those feelings. Get out of them!
- Find out if your local clubhouse is doing Alco-thons: Many local AA and NA clubhouses often have a whole bunch of fun activities planned for people who are staying sober during the holidays.
- Get involved, pick up a commitment to serve food or chair a meeting, this is an awesome time to get involved and get into the middle of the community.
- Many places have around the clock meetings and dinners planned on holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and new years eve, so if you ever start to feel squirrelly, you know you always have a safe place to go.
- Get involved in some sort of volunteer work: The holidays have gotten a little muddled over the last century, and a lot of people forget the original intention of what they were all about.
- Giving and Receiving doesn’t always mean gifts or presents, volunteering your time at a homeless shelter or boys and girls club is an amazing way to not only stay out of isolation yourself but to make someone else’s day way better too.
- Christmas was originally a pagan holiday that celebrated the end of the harvest, so gather a group of friends, bring along some newcomers, and go dance around a fire during the full moon! What a way to bring in the new year, throw out the old harms, and enjoy your sobriety during the holidays!
There are so many different scenarios and situations that I couldn’t even begin to cover in this short blog, but the fact of the matter is, if you are feeling all screwed up during this holiday season, whether it be with family or on your own, you don’t have to stay in that place for long. There are always activities, tools to use, and people to call to help get us back in a place of gratitude. After all, being sober during the holidays is way better than what we used to be!
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If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism or addiction, understand that you are not alone in your struggles! If you are ready to change your life and finally be free of your addiction, then FindAddictionRehabs.com can help. We can give you the jump start you need in order to experience the recovery you have always wanted. Our holistic programs are unique in that they don’t just treat the addiction, but rather they treat the whole person, so if you are interested in finding out more information, please do not hesitate to give us a call today at 1-877-959-7271.