When you are in recovery, staying sober during holiday season can be a very high-stress time of the year. Alcohol is often involved, and family members who don’t understand can make it much harder. However, your recovery should not impede your ability to enjoy the holidays. There are a number of things you can do to make sobriety easier during the holidays. Here are a few steps to take for a simpler holiday season.
Be Open with Family
If your family members do not fully understand your condition, it becomes much easier for them to make mistakes around you. For example, a relative throwing a party may be unaware that you are sober and fail to provide nonalcoholic beverages. Staying sober is made much more difficult when your friends and family are offering you alcohol unwittingly.
As uncomfortable as it can be, you need to speak openly with friends and family about your condition. Tell them what you need from them in order to stay sober while enjoying the holidays. Some good ideas might be concealing alcohol bottles during holiday parties (or putting them out of the way), serving sparkling cider or other nonalcoholic beverages, and not offering you alcohol.
Bring Your Own Beverages
If you are concerned about the holiday offerings, you might want to consider bringing some nonalcoholic options. Bring a few bottles to share with others so that you are not outing yourself as being in recovery. If you don’t want others to know, having a beverage to carry around can also prevent others from offering you alcohol.
Of course, the best option is to communicate with the party host, but that is not always possible.
Keep Your Stress Managed
People tend to relapse during times of stress and the holidays are a prime time to experience stress. Political debates, disapproving family members, and the general stress of get-togethers can all spell disaster for your willpower. Managing your stress may be the most important part about staying sober during the holidays.
Some valuable ways to keep stress levels low include meditation, exercise, crafting, and simply avoiding potentially stressful situations. Isolating yourself to avoid family stress is not a good idea; however, if you do not have a supportive family, it may be better to spend the holidays with friends. It is better to save family parties for later on in your recovery if they are not going to support you. Of course, an open and frank conversation with your loved ones could have a positive effect and make holiday gatherings simpler.
Staying sober during the holidays can be quite challenging given the stressful circumstances most people encounter. Alcohol seems to be around every corner, and with the atmosphere of self-indulgence, it can be tempting to ignore your resolve. Being open, tending to your own needs, and managing your stress are all very valuable steps to making the holidays enjoyable while remaining sober. However, your recovery should always take priority. If your family is not willing to be a part of your recovery, you may need to spend your holidays with people who are. If you need some extra support, talking to a professional is recommended.
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