For a myriad of reasons, the holidays can be a difficult time for people in recovery. Not only are there a lot of feelings that come up during this time of year, but there are also some temptations to cope with if you’re invited to a get-together. Parties with alcohol or marijuana use are now common, and there may be some family relations left to repair. How is a sober person supposed to cope with all of the challenges?
Millions of people stay sober during the holidays. One of the best ways to cope with all of the drama, feelings, and stress is to have a plan. You should share it with others and write it down. Keep it with you on the most stressful days so you can refer back to it:
- Don’t go to parties where drinking and drug use are rampant. Alcohol and drug use is a trigger that may seem hard to avoid, but it’s important. Don’t go to cocktail parties or answer invitations with references to marijuana in them (such as 420).
- Pay attention to your triggers and acknowledge them. For example, have a plan for what you are going to do when you see somebody drinking or smoking. (Sit away from where drinks are served and avoid drug users.)
- Bring a sober friend if you can. You can leave together if temptation is too high for you.
- If you can’t bring a friend, do text message check-ins with a friend or your sponsor. Let them know if you’re struggling.
- Go to a 12-step meeting before (and after, if you’re stressed). You’ll have people to talk to and get out of your head.
- Practice explaining your sobriety to friends and family who aren’t aware of it. If you have family members who you want to share it with, it can be awkward at first, but it will probably come up.
- Have a plan to say “no thanks” to any drink offers. You can explain your sobriety – or not. You’re allowed to choose who to share it with.
- Try to have an attitude of gratitude. During the holidays, it can be difficult to center yourself in the here and now. Try keeping a gratitude list if you can.
- Meditate, use mindfulness, or reach out to your higher power however you see fit. If you can’t find a private place, you can always take a moment away in a bathroom.
Staying clean and sober during the holidays can be stressful for the first few years, but remember that if you’re recently clean, you have choices now. Don’t be afraid to choose to leave situations that make you feel uncomfortable. You also have the choice to reach out to your support network.
Sober Living Can Help
One thing that helps people in recovery stay on track is living with others who support their recovery. Sometimes that means you’re better off living in sober housing until life is more stable. Being in a community of people working on themselves can help inspire you and support you as you chart a new path. Want to learn more about your options? Call us at 760-216-2077.