When the holidays arrive, it’s a time for most people to eat, socialize and drink. Along with the turkey and stuffing, wine flows and champagne bubbles. But what if you’re a recovering addict? How do you celebrate the holidays without relapsing into your old ways? After all, the holidays are not just joyful. They can be stressful too. Family dinners may be filled with tension amongst relatives. You may deal with depression because of loved ones who have passed away or relationships that are damaged because of your past drug or alcohol abuse.

Holidays can make you feel lonely if you don’t have the support of family and friends. The stress of paying for gifts when money is tight coupled with battling holiday shoppers is no picnic either. All of these factors combined can make you relapse if you’re not careful. Here are some tips to help you enjoy the season without succumbing to the lure of alcohol.

Create a plan to avoid a relapse. If you start each day thinking about what you need to do to stay sober, you have a better chance of avoiding alcohol. Think about how you want your life to be once the holidays are over. In other words, keep your eyes on the prize. If you stay focused on how you want your life to be, you won’t be distracted by the obstacles that litter your path during the holidays. In short, staying sober during the months of making merry will assist you in your path to achieving a better life.

Let people know that you are committed to sobriety. For example, if you are going to attend a holiday party, contact the host or hostess in advance and ask them about the menu for the party. If they plan to serve alcohol and they’re your family, see if they will provide non-alcoholic drinks for you. You might even ask if they can avoid serving alcohol. You can always bring your own beverages too. Try bringing a couple bottles of a non-alcoholic drink or punch. You can sip your drink, socialize and remain sober as well.

If the family plans to go out to celebrate the holidays, ask them if you can go to a restaurant that doesn’t serve alcohol. Of course, you’ll want to avoid bars and night clubs since these types of establishments serve alcohol as well. .

Don’t participate in conversations that revolve around alcohol. At holiday parties, some people like to brag about how much they drank during past holidays. You may even encounter party guests that get their jollies by bringing criticising others who have experienced drunken episodes in the past. If these types of conversations take place, remove yourself from the situation. These types of interactions will only interfere with your addiction recovery.

Avoid being alone during the holidays. While you may live far away from family or your relationship with them may be strained, find stable friends you can spend time with during these times of celebration. Spending time with positive people or respect your commitment to stay sober will help you avoid the depression common among recovering addicts during the holiday months.

Recovering from addiction is a difficult hill to climb. But when you are a recovering addict during the holidays, the hill quickly morphs into a mountain. Stress, depression and anxiety during the holiday months can easily cause you to relapse if you aren’t prepared. If you plan ahead, keep your thoughts on your future goals and avoid surrounding yourself with temptation, you can enjoy the holiday season without jeopardizing your sobriety.

Photo via Pixabay


Submitted by: Caleb Anderson at Recovery Hope 

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