Staying Sober For The Holidays
‘Tis the season for parties and social gatherings, good tidings and good cheer, but the holidays may impose additional challenges and stress for those of us in recovery…particularly if you are new to sobriety. We know, however, that sobriety is a mindset. Every. Single. Day. So take extra special care in giving yourself the time and space to be mindful of your recovery routine and what keeps you sober every other day of the year because the best gift you can give friends and family is a healthy, sober you.
- Attitude of Gratitude. Overindulge in giving thanks. No matter how much adversity we face, there is always something to be grateful for. Sometimes you have to dig deep to find the positives, but they are there somewhere. Acknowledge them and write them down, or talk about them with someone. Focusing on the positive improves our overall well being because an attitude of gratitude actually reduces anxiety and depression and increases feelings of optimism and joy.
- Give back. Or pay it forward. Have you ever bought the person in line behind you at Starbucks a cup of coffee? Did you walk away feeling absolutely jubilant? When you give, you are also receiving because the result of giving is receiving emotional vigor. But the act of giving doesn’t have to involve your wallet or large chunks of time. Set an intention to make at least one person smile every day. Give a genuine compliment, reach out to someone you miss, send a card with a handwritten note, tell someone you are proud of them, etc. Spread the love, friends, because you can trust in that what goes around, comes around.
- Self care. Let’s face it. The most wonderful time of the year also comes with added stress. Many people in recovery used to use as a way to destress, so self care can never be put off until tomorrow or next week or for your 2020 New Years resolution because it is crucial in avoiding relapse. While self care plans look different for everyone, you must protect your sleep and fuel your brain and body with healthy food to keep your energy levels up and boost your capacity to stay focused.
- “Mobilize” recovery support. Whether it be downloading apps to locate support meeting locations, bookmarking recovery podcasts or meditation videos, carrying your journal or recovery support books in your purse/workbag, or all of the above. Have what you need at the ready for a moment of need — especially if you are traveling.
- Phone a friend. Arrange to have someone you can text ☎️ to who will take your call any time of the day or night to help talk you out of your tree.
- Sober buddy. Take a sober friend to holiday parties with you if you aren’t ready to go alone.
- Plan B. Have an exit plan in the event you go to a party and realize you can’t stay.
- Just say no. If you aren’t ready or it’s too much, IT’S OK! There is always a next time, whether it’s spreading holiday cheer next week or next year. Nothing is worth risking a relapse. Take care of you.