5 Tips to Enjoy a Sober Holiday Season

Posted on December 16, 2014

Addiction recovery during the Holidays
by Richard Song

Plan For Holiday Triggers

The holidays can be a particularly difficult time for people new to recovery. The number of challenges to your recovery can be daunting, between family gatherings, parties where alcohol is present, and emotional triggers such as stress and sadness related to past memories. You can build resistance to these triggers by preparing a plan. Here are some general tips that can help those recovering from an addiction through the holidays:

1) Be careful about which events you attend. Avoid those that will be highly tempting and that focus around “using” such as wine tastings and cocktail parties. When you arrive at an event, take note of the potential triggers and come up with a plan that will address each of those triggers – for instance, position yourself away from the bar.

2) Have a backup plan in case the temptation is too strong or you feel uncomfortable at an event. Bring a sober friend who will support you and leave with you if you don’t feel comfortable staying. If you feel comfortable doing so, let the hosts know your situation. That way, you won’t feel like you offended them if you decide to leave early.

3) Keep in touch with your recovery community and rely on other support systems. Attend SMART Recovery, Women for Sobriety, AA, NA or any other meetings – either face-to-face. on-line or both. If you have one, get involved with your place of worship. You may find others who also find the holidays a difficult time to navigate. It might be a good idea to take down a few numbers if you need someone to support you. Also consider attending a party for people in recovery.

4) Be prepared to say “no thanks” and/or explain your sobriety. Family and friends may be aware of your addiction, but strangers will most likely be unaware and may even offer you a drink.

5) Celebrate your sobriety! This is a time of celebration after all. Focus on those things that you “get back” when you’re in recovery and the ways in which life is better when you’re not using.

Source: Reunion San Diego, a service of Practical Recovery.

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4 thoughts on “5 Tips to Enjoy a Sober Holiday Season

  1. HughK

    Great stuff here!!
    It is all about planning and getting support.
    Great to have my HoV and CBA on my POC with me – even in my SMART Phone as a document or a clear picture!
    That way if urges strike I have something constructive to reinforce my powerful choice and distract myself with.

    (HoV=Hierarchy of values; CBA=Cost Benefit Analysis; POC=Poison of Choice – also referred to as DOC=Drug of Choice)

  2. Pistol-Pete

    All very good advice for the newbie to sobriety! If you are really fresh I would suggest avoiding these situations completely. It is easier to make an excuse not to go than it is to explain why you are there but not drinking unless of course you are willing to be up front with everyone that may ask why you are not drinking! It is most definitely a tough time of year to be a non drinker but as the article says it is also a good time to celebrate your sobriety and all of the good things that it has brought into or maybe back into your life!!! Seasons Greetings to all!!

  3. Gentoo

    Another tip – For many, offering to be the designated driver isn’t a good idea. If you are the driver, that means you have to stay until the end of the gathering. The option to leave early is not available.

    1. HughK

      If you do end up being the designated driver, a way to pay them back is to drop them off at the wrong houses 🙂

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