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Staying Sober During the Holidays

For many of us, the holidays are a great time. They’re filled with family, friends, fun and festivities, albeit being a little bit stressful at times.

Unfortunately, for someone who has struggled with addiction in the past, the holidays can actually be pretty difficult. That’s why it’s important to understand how the holidays could be uncomfortable for someone who struggles or has struggled with addiction. This will allow you to take the necessary precautions to help prevent the unfortunate incident of a relapse.

What makes the holidays any different?

The holidays are a lot different than most other times of the year. Some people love them, and some people hate them. It’s easy enough to understand either of those perspectives, but what are the holidays like for someone who struggles with drug addiction or recovery?

The holidays can definitely bring up some sensitive emotional situations. A lot of people get to see family and friends that they haven’t seen in awhile. They may also be stuck eating dinner at a table with someone they wished they’d never see again. Either way, the holidays can bring up  a bunch of feelings that can pave the way to relapse:

  • * Stress from feeling like you have too many responsibilities
  • * Anxiety about your family or friends worrying about your addiction
  • * Anger at having to do things that you might not want to
  • * Loneliness could arise for all sorts of reasons
  • * People who suffer from depression may find it exacerbated during the holidays

The stress alone can compound in someone who is working on their recovery to drugs, even if they’ve been clean and sober for many years. However, a lot of people find that these other emotions are simple triggers that can lead to a serious relapse.

Furthermore, a lot of families like to have drinks at Christmas time or during other holidays. This can make it extremely hard for someone recovering from an alcohol problem to enjoy themselves at the reunion.
Fortunately, with the right knowledge and preparation, you’ll be able to attend any holiday function and maintain your sobriety.

Making sure you can stay sober

You’re going to want to make sure that you prepare yourself mentally before the holidays arrive if you want to succeed in staying sober. Here are a few guidelines that should help you be able to easily accomplish this.Make your planThe first step you’re already doing by reading this article. You’re going to want to outline the things that could go wrong and prepare for them. This means that you should let your family and friends know that you’re recovering.

It’s not really fair to ask everyone else to stay sober just because you’re at risk, but you can at least develop a plan to set in place if you feel like having a relapse. You can outline methods you use to cope with your triggers and look at it through the night, and make sure that your family can talk to you one on one if you want them to.

Bring a sober buddy

Or a sober family member. Someone who knows what you’re going through and who understands the risks you’re taking by making sure that you can be a part of your holiday gathering.

It can be quite unnerving trying to socialize with a group of people when you’re the only sober person and they’re all drinking. Having the support of someone sober can make a huge difference – and can also help you build better, honest connections.

Keep a drink in your handDepending on how far you go with this, it can be a bit deceptive – but whatever keeps you sober, right?

If you keep a drink in your hand (a non-alcoholic one, obviously) throughout the night, then you won’t have anyone offer you a new one. This is great if you don’t want to have to explain to people at the dinner table that you’re trying to stay sober.

You don’t have to be dishonest with this – but you can be. If you feel that it’d be better for someone to believe you’re still drinking alcohol, you can say that you are.

Pick your gatherings

This isn’t always an option at Christmas – most families tend to stick together – but some people who have smaller families or no connection with their families have opportunities to choose which gathering they want to attend. Of course, you’ll want to choose one where you know there will be less drinking and drugging, and more sober socializing.

Christmas isn’t the only holiday to eb careful about though. New Year’s Eve is often one of the most obnoxious and crazy party nights in the world, and it can be hard to find a quiet gathering. They certainly exist, though – just talk to people that you know who don’t frequently imbibe and you’ll find something fun to do.

Stay active

One of the biggest causes of relapse isi boredom, and yes, you can even get bored at a holiday function. Especially at a holiday function if you’re surrounded by older family members that you haven’t seen in a long time. It’s important that you make sure you have something to keep you occupied before and after dinner.

If you have any hobbies like playing music or writing, you can bring your instrument or a notebook along to keep you occupied when the conversation is more focused on those who have been drinking.
In conclusionThe holidays are a time full of experience and emotion, and for a lot of people they’re a great time. A lot of others, however, find them stressful, difficult, and can’t wait for them to be over.

Additional Information

Among the people who find the holidays the most difficult are those who struggle with addiction. The holidays are filled with things that could be considered triggers that might lead to relapse, and this makes them quite dreadful for some people who are trying to stay sober.
Fortunately, with the right information and the right preparations, you’ll be able to stay sober this holiday season.