Stay Sober During the Silly Season
How do you stay sober during the silly season? Gathering with friends and family during the holidays may be a pleasurable experience. However, for some, those events can be filled with temptations or anxieties that lead them to turn to alcohol as a way to cope.
According to a recent study conducted by the American Addiction Centers, emotions of stress, worry, and despair – all of which are possible triggers for relapse – were more common among persons in recovery from addiction during the holiday season.
Consider whether or not you can manage being among individuals who are socially drinking before committing to a holiday engagement.
10 Tips to avoid relapse
- Call in extra help – Call your sponsor if you start to feel uncomfortable in your new sober environment and they can remind you that all the hard work you’ve put into altering your life is worth it. You may even want to check-in before the event and let them know that you’ll be attending a party where alcohol is present and that you’ll be calling them if any form of temptation arises.
- Identify a plan of action for when you want to stop – It’s fine if you have to leave. Having a contingency plan in place in the event that you need to leave a gathering is essential. Driving your own car so you can leave if necessary, or notifying others in your support network in case you need to reach out, are examples of this.
- Don’t go back to your old haunts – Stay away from areas that bring back memories of a time when you were a drug addict.
- Attend Sober Relapse Prevention Meetings – Become a part of a support group for those in recovery. These groups will help you stay sober during the silly season.
- Make Healthy Habits a Habit – You can fight the urge to stay at home by planning activities like exercise, walking, or relaxing.
- Stock up on nutritious foods – Consider stocking up ahead of time so that you don’t waste your time looking for stores on the main holidays, when most of the open ones are off-licences. If you’re going to have a party, make sure to include lots of nonalcoholic beverages and tasty, nutritious food.
- Avoid noxious environments at all costs – It is best not to become involved in any kind of conflict with friends and family members who have been drinking or using.
- Accept that you can only change yourself – The dynamics of your family, a lack of resources, and unresolved issues from the past can make Christmas a tough time for everyone. Relapse can be triggered if alcoholism/addiction is involved. People in the early stages of recovery are particularly sensitive and fragile, as they struggle to repair broken familial ties and relationships, as well as to restore their own self-esteem and self-confidence, and to develop a new social network. For alcoholics/addicts, the entire period of recovery can be emotionally challenging, especially if family systems have not completely healed, there may be unresolved issues, or if family members are still in denial, or drinking/using. Family and friends who don’t understand abstinence and refuse to make the required adjustments to assist your recovery might be difficult to “reintegrate” into.
- Warning: Triggers are out there – Speak to someone about your feelings of hunger, rage, loneliness, or exhaustion as soon as possible. Always keep in mind the hazards and triggers that you face and how to deal with them in your recovery maintenance plan. Expectations are “Resentments waiting to happen,” and the holiday season, especially the New Year’s celebration, can be fraught with them. Avoid solitary confinement and listening to music that may cause you to feel unhappy or uncomfortable.
- Prioritize your own healing – If you want to stay sober during the silly season, you have to approach it like a life or death situation, which is what it is. Holidays are a time when it’s easy to let your guard down and think that one drink won’t hurt or that you just want to rejoice with your pals. Having these kinds of beliefs could lead to disastrous outcomes.Using your sobriety tools, like meetings, a sponsor, exercise, meditation, writing, prayer, or whatever else works for you, is a great way to keep your recovery going. Don’t isolate yourself, because it always causes the addictive ideas to grow and take over.
Contact ARCA rehabs today to learn more about our relapse prevention methods and medications.