Parties, celebrating, and stress are all part of holidays. Whether you are attending a family gathering, a work function, or a New Year’s bash, it’s almost certain that alcohol will be part of the equation. Here are 10 tips on staying sober this holiday season.
- ASK THE HOST TO SKIP THE ALCOHOL: If you have a close relationship with the host of your family get together, you might consider asking him or her to forgo the alcohol this year (or at least skip the open bar option). While you can’t control other people or change their behavior, you can let them know you are in recovery and this would help you through this process. However, it’s important to be realistic with your expectations, and be prepared to get no for an answer.
- SET BOUNDARIES: If there is going to be alcohol at the party, let your friends and family know ahead of time that you are sober and don’t plan on drinking. This will hopefully prevent anyone from pressuring you to drink during the party. Also let the host know that if you start to feel the urge to drink, you might have to leave early. This way no one’s feelings will be hurt if you suddenly have to take off.
- SOBER SUPPORT: Bring a trusted friend or family member who will stay sober with you at the party. Make sure it’s someone who always has your back. If you start to feel the need to use or drink, let them know and ask for their support.
- LEAVE THE ROOM: Physically removing yourself from the alcohol, or the person pressuring you to drink, will let you think more clearly.
- TAKE A DEEP BREATH: Practice deep breathing, focusing on your breaths in and out. If possible, find a quiet place to meditate for a few minutes during the party.
- MAKE AN ESCAPE PLAN: It’s always OK to excuse yourself from a party if the urge to drink becomes too strong. Create an escape plan ahead of time to prevent a relapse. You can also plan to arrive late to the party and leave early.
- FIND AN AA GROUP: If you are traveling from out of town, research a nearby AA group ahead of time and find out when their next meeting takes place. If the meeting is taking place during the party, it’s OK to excuse yourself and go to the meeting.
- SAYING NO: There may be the pushy friend or relative who insists you join in on the champagne toast at New Year’s or try their homemade eggnog. Don’t get sucked into their guilt trips. While it’s not your intention to be rude or damage relationships, you have to PUT YOUR SOBRIETY FIRST! Let them know how long you’ve been sober for, and that you intend to remain sober. Ask if they have a virgin version of their eggnog, or let them know you plan to ring in the new year with sparkling cider.
- WORK PARTIES: Drinking often goes hand in hand with work culture, not just holiday parties, but throughout the year, such as happy hour, celebrating successes, etc. If you have the luxury to be open about your recovery at work that’s great, but not everyone does. You might not want your colleagues or bosses to know you’re in recovery. Order seltzer or soda if your feel you’ll be stigmatized for not drinking.
- MAKE A SOBER PLAN & ALWAYS KEEP IT WITH YOU: Even after the holidays are over, keep a sober plan with you. This will ensure that no matter where you are or what situation you find yourself in, you’ll have a concrete action plan with you to help you stay sober. This can include meditating, calling a friend or sponsor, stating positive affirmations, taking a walk, exercising, or anything else that will provide a healthy outlet, serve as a positive distraction, and encourage you to stay sober.
Need additional support? Serenity Lane provides therapy and guidance to those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. The holidays can be stressful for everyone, and it’s important to not let the additional stress and societal pressures result in relapse. You’ll receive warm, judgment-free, expert care so you can stay on your path to sobriety.