We are entering the holiday season, and as the old saying goes it is time to eat, drink and be merry. While this time of year is one full of family, socializing and plenty to eat and drink, what if you are a recovering addict? In this season of cocktail and dinner parties and large social events, it can be a slippery slope for those who have worked hard to maintain their sobriety. If you are a recovering addict and are approaching the holiday season with apprehension, the stress and worry can put a damper on your holiday. Staying sober during the holidays is difficult but with a little planning you will be able to do it.
Staying Sober During the Holidays Can Be Easy With Some Planning
When you are in recovery–and especially early recovery–the holiday season may have been the time of year when your drinking or drug use was at its’ worst. Without those familiar standbys, you may feel out of your element and ready to crawl out of your skin. While you may have doubts that you can get through the holidays without relapsing, you can indeed celebrate sober if you put a rock solid plan into place. The following tips will help you create a foolproof game plan to stay sober during the holiday season.
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Tips to Staying Sober During the Holidays
Make a Plan…Everyday
Whether you consciously think about it or not, you make a plan to stay clean and sober every morning when you wake up. When you are in recovery, you rely on the life and coping skills that you learned and honed in drug treatment to help you deal with the stresses of your day to day life while keeping your individual plan of recovery front and center. This is no different when the holidays approach. While the time of year added significance, the way you plan your day as a recovering person does not change. Ultimately, the key from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed is to stay sober.
Evaluate Each Situation
As you approach the holiday season, you need to carefully look at each party, family gathering or other social event and evaluate which functions are at low risk for jeopardizing your sobriety and which ones will put you at high risk for relapse. No matter where you may be in your recovery, each event can have its traps as far as sucking you back into active use–so you need to plan accordingly. If you need to, arrive early and leave early–and if you can drive yourself you can leave at the first sign of trouble. You may also want to plan to get a supportive family member or someone in recovery with you.
Bring The Party With You
Another great way to stay sober during the holidays is to bring a non-alcohol food, drink or snack item to a holiday event. While others may enjoy a glass of champagne you can bring your favorite sparkling fruit juice or mineral water. If you do bring your own refreshments or food items, be sure they are located nearby and if you need to get another drink or food item that you get it yourself.
Rehearse Your Responses
Perhaps one of the most anxious feelings that someone in recovery can experience is trying to explain to others why they are turning down drinks as discreetly and respectfully as possible. Before the event, you should have a few “set responses” to decline offers of food or drink that are dangers to your sobriety.
See Your Cravings Through
When someone in recovery experiences a craving to use drugs and alcohol, it can feel like an eternity and can be overwhelming. In reality, the life cycle of a craving only lasts about 15-20 minutes. If you start feeling cravings coming on during a holiday function, staying strong during those times will allow them to past. During this time, it is important to move to a different setting, meditate, or breathe deeply. Additionally, you need to engage in self-talk to get yourself past those urges. Remember how much is at risk if you give into your craving.
Of all the factors that can lead to relapse, remembering to eat may be the one that people can forget. For those who don’t eat, they will experience low blood sugar which can make them irritable and anxious. This can lead you to make impulsive choices and you can become tempted to use substance as a means to deal with your stress. Be sure to eat something nutritious every few hours.
Be Aware of Your Specific Triggers
You must be aware of the specific triggers that make you vulnerable to relapse and find healthy and proactive ways to deal with them. The best way to ward off these triggers is to keep yourself in excellent physical and psychological shape.
Keep Close to Your Support System
During the holiday season, it is important to make greater efforts to lean on your support system to keep you confident and motivated. If you are a part of a 12-step or other sober support group, be sure that you attend a few extra meetings for added encouragement and support. You also want to lean on those family members and friends who are 100 percent supportive of your sobriety during this time of year. You also have to accept the fact there are friends that you aren’t going to have the chance to celebrate the holidays with because they still use substances. Remember, your recovery comes first.
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Are You Looking for Ways to Get and Stay Sober For Life?
Being able to get and stay sober is a lifelong process, and the biggest key to success is drug treatment. If you or a loved one is looking to break free from addiction, you can count on the quality drug treatment programs that FindAddictionRehabs.com have to offer. Our wide range of treatment programs will restore your mind, body and spirit and will give you the confidence to step back into your world. Call us today and make your recovery a reality.