Holidays Can Be Sober
Sobriety is a difficult journey. Everyone goes through their sobriety journey in a different way, though it manifests itself with different challenges for each person that decides to better themselves.
Holidays are one of those typical times where the drinks flow, the drugs are accessible, and the time that you have with friends and family is seldomly done sober. While this isn’t the case for every American household, in 2019 a study found that just about 70% of people drank alcohol at some point during the year.
While it’s impossible to determine the time that each person drank, it’s safe to assume that most people drank alcohol during some holiday during the year. It’s just the culture – and that’s part of the problem.
While it often feels as though there isn’t much that you can do in these situations besides just sitting them out, there are specific things that you can do in order to prepare yourself for what is to come this holiday season.
Below, we’re going to make a rough list of things that you should think about this holiday season before going to parties or family gatherings. Creating a plan and knowing what you are going to do and how you might react in each situation is critical in making it through this holiday season without a relapse.
A big part of anyone’s sobriety journey is getting to know themselves better. You learn to understand your limits better, who you are as a person better, and what drives you as a human being.
Knowing your limits is so important going into this holiday season. What temptations can you face and come out on the other side unscathed, and what challenges might tear you down? Identifying threats, being honest with yourself, and moving forward with all of that consciously in mind is important.
So, then, make sure that you don’t put yourself in any situations that might be too hard for you to resist temptation. This article is meant to help those who struggle with addiction reclaim a life that they thought they would lose when they get sober. As most people who have been sober for a long time know – it’s well worth it.
Getting sober doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to miss out on parties, family gatherings, and the like. It can mean that in specific situations and depending on the person. If you’re newly sober, for instance, it’s probably wisest for you to stay as far away from any drugs or alcohol.
After a few months or years pass, and you have your urges under control, there’s a good chance that you can find yourself in these situations without even feeling the need for alcohol in general. This is the end goal, but again, understand that you need to know yourself and your limits before doing any of this. If the atmosphere is just too tempting for you, stay away!
With all that said, let’s move on to some things to keep in mind and help prepare you for the holiday season.
Create A Strategy
The number one thing to do is to know what you should do in different situations.
Where do you go when you are offered alcohol? What do you say to that person? How can you be gracious about it? How can you still have fun without drinking at all?
If you don’t know the answer to that last question, it might be a good idea to go to a party that you know won’t have any alcohol, or maybe plan it yourself – either way, learning how to have fun without alcohol will help push you in the right direction when you’re in a situation where some people are drinking.
Remember what H.A.L.T. taught us – your temptations are at their strongest when you’re one of four things: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Trying to navigate your night with this in mind will help you avoid situations where you might find yourself compromising your convictions.
What are you going to do when you know you’ve just had too much? Knowing your limits goes more than just with alcohol. One needs to know their limits in many different situations. When is too much family too much? When is the pressure of each conversation just too much? When is your limit for social interaction?
Each person has a limit to each of these things. The closer one is to their limit will only hasten a mistake that will leave them in a place of regret. Creating a strategy and allowing yourself the opportunity to exit the situation before it gets worse or even not get into specific situations entirely will help increase your chances of staying sober and healthy throughout the holidays.
Pursue the Relationships that Matter
The holiday season is a great time to spend with friends and family, but not everyone that falls into these categories is going to be the best encouragement for you.
Identify the relationships that explicitly build you up and help keep you sober and living healthy, single them out, and make it an intentional effort to spend time with these individuals during the holidays.
These people likely know the struggles that you are going through, whether they understand the struggles personally or they are just rather empathetic people – they are valuable to you and will be a major help in keeping your holidays sober.
These friendships can be more than just people that keep you honest for a night – in many cases, they can be reasons for your sobriety entirely. If that is the case, attending parties and other holiday events with them will help improve your relationship with them and make your sobriety even more worth it in the end.
Relationships are hard to keep while struggling with addiction, those that are willing to stay around through your hardest times are people that are worth whatever energy you give back to them.
Focus On Food
Drinking can be a major part of any holiday party, whether it be your grandfather’s favorite drink that he insists on making for everyone or just the table wine that’s served with dinner. These temptations can be easy to avoid early in the night, but as time goes on and the holiday nights get longer, these temptations can become all the more appealing and more attractive in general.
Eating right will also help you drastically when it comes to making the right decisions regarding your addictions. Keeping yourself well-fed and healthy is important when making correct decisions.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps maintain a healthy and sharp mind. It’s easy to eat bad food over the holiday, which can lead to other unhealthy decisions. Maybe you only decide to drink when eating a specific meal – making an intentional plan to not eat that meal or stay home that night might be a decision that needs to be made.
Overeating is also a cause of drinking in a lot of people. Overeating can cause people to fall into minor depressions. These depressions only encourage alcohol abuse, as they can take one’s mind off of the mistake that they feel that they have made.
Of course, these decisions are not easy to pin down, one size does not fit all, and these examples are designed in a way that you can think about your situation and realize that there may be similarities that you can be on the lookout for during this holiday season.
Outward, Not Inward
The holiday season is a wonderful time of giving and spending time with those that you love. Sending a gift to someone that you love in one way or another will give you get into the spirit of the season.
Thinking inward will only lead to subconscious questions like “how can I fulfill myself at this moment now?” or “I feel as though my needs/desires weren’t met tonight, how can I make up for this myself?” These are the kinds of questions that lead one back into their addiction.
If one is expecting something from the holiday season, the chances of them being disappointed are raised. If one is expecting to give this holiday season and not receive anything, they will find themselves fulfilled all throughout the season.
This is not an easy mindset to get into, and it’s an even tougher mindset to maintain. If your life has been filled with getting and not giving, this concept might just be too foreign. That is usually not the case, however, as most people put subtle expectations on those that they give to whenever they give something.
If this is the case, they will often find themselves upset about whatever they didn’t receive but felt like they deserved. Oftentimes, this is a recipe for one to find a reason to drink – and it’s an easy one to expect.
Misery loves company, as they say, and some people will trade the company for another bottle. A mistake that doesn’t need to be made.
Celebrate New Traditions
For many, substance abuse and the holidays are just too inseparable. If this is the case, creating new traditions will be necessary.
This isn’t as easy as just saying it – one needs a creative mind and a willing community. One is hard enough to come by, but both require intentional planning and a serious drive to do it.
Finding a community that is willing to do something like this won’t be easy, but setting up the event and sticking to it is something that is within your control.
Something as easy as hosting a dinner party yourself with your own fun rules or planning a mini-golf tournament – either can be done in a fun and drug/alcohol-free environment.
New traditions will eventually be the crux of your holiday season, and with time they will become the norm.
Know Your Triggers
Hopefully, this is something that was gone over in rehab, if you went to rehab. If you didn’t go to rehab, talking to a certified therapist or someone that you trust about different triggers and what makes you go back to your addictions is very important.
If you are not familiar with your triggers, you can easily fall into a pattern where you end up in situations that resemble your past, pre-sober life. If you know how to identify triggers and what makes you relapse then you will know to avoid them.
Thinking that you are immune because you have been through rehab or that you don’t believe yourself capable of relapsing is exactly the circumstances that will bring you to relapse.
Reach Out For Help
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, reach out to us at ecosoberhouse.com. We have the materials you need to get started on your journey to sobriety. You don’t need to do this alone, and if you don’t know where to start we have the resources that you need to get you started. Don’t wait on sobriety – make it a point to start your journey today.