The holidays are fast approaching. And, while they can be exciting and fun, they can also cause chaos and panic. This is especially true for those who are newly sober or those in recovery. After all, you will find that your social calendar is filling up with dinner, parties, and so much more.
What do you do when you don’t want to give up all the holiday fun, but you need to remain sober?
You make sure you are prepared.
Follow these 11 tips for a successful – sober – holiday season.
1. Take Care of Yourself
Feeling overtired, hungry, or eating all the wrong foods can leave you feeling less than par. And, to face the holiday season, you are going to need to be feeling your very best. Therefore, you are going to want to make sure you are taking care of yourself.
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Sweets and sugary baked goods are usually found everywhere this time of year. Do your best to not indulge in too many. And, if you do, just follow it up with some healthy eats. Too many restrictions could send you over the edge – and that is what you don’t want. So, be sure to keep a healthy mix of food in your diet.
Getting adequate sleep and exercise can also greatly benefit you. They both will keep you feeling strong and secure – ready to face anything that comes your way.
2. Make a Plan to Stay Sober at Holiday Parties
Attending parties is not necessarily recommended for those new to sobriety. But, during the holiday season, you may find this is hard to do. If you decide that you must attend, have a plan in place that will work to keep you sober.
Decide what you will drink before you arrive. And, make sure you make yourself a nice cozy spot away from any temptations.
3. Know Your Triggers – and Make a Plan for When They Arise
Knowing your triggers is crucial. And, at this point, you should be well aware of what yours are. As soon as something begins to affect you, jump headfirst into survival mode. Contact your sponsor, your sober buddy, a member of your support group, etc. Whatever plan you have in place, follow it.
It is best to have this plan solidly put together before the holiday season arrives.
4. Continue Your Meetings
Whether your holidays take you out of town or keep you local, you are going to need to continue your meetings. If you are traveling, be proactive and look up local meetings at your destination. If you are staying home, then make sure to plan your social engagements around your meetings.
Attending your meetings should be the greater priority in a social situation.
5. Know That It Is Okay to Say “No”
It is okay to say decline invites to social gatherings. You don’t have to attend every party, dinner, or function that arises during the holidays. And, you don’t have to give a reason why you cannot attend. Everyone knows that the holidays are the busiest social time of the year. So, fitting everything in can stress even the most organized person out.
Don’t wear yourself too thin and cause yourself to have a relapse. Instead, say no – and stay home if you need to. It’s okay.
6. Have a Sober Buddy
A sober buddy is someone who you can count on to remain sober with you, whether at a family or friends party or a company function. It is important to not feel so alone while everyone else is indulging in adult beverages. And, should you feel tempted, a sober buddy can be there to give you some level-headed support.
7. Be a Helper
Giving back and helping others is a great way to feel good this holiday season. Instead of spending all of your time on edge at parties, spend some time doing something good. Volunteer at soup kitchens, put together bags for the homeless, work with children’s charities and collect donations, or spend time walking furry friends at an animal shelter.
Doing this will boost your self-worth – and leave you feeling empowered.
8. Remain Positive
Place positive affirmations on your mirror, your door, in your car, or even written on your hand. Read them and repeat them to keep your strength.
9. Be Prepared for Pushy People
It doesn’t matter whether it is a friend, family member, or stranger. When people are drinking at a party, they are going to get pushy with one who is not. And, well, that is you. Be prepared for these pushy people. Know how to walk away without a confrontation – and without succumbing to peer pressure.
10. Have an Escape Plan
Before you arrive at any social engagements, you should have a plan in place for when your triggers arise. You will want to excuse yourself from the party as soon as possible. Where will you go? What will you tell the other clients? Know the escape plan and follow it. Do not ever leave yourself in a place where you feel vulnerable or weak.
11. Stay in the Moment
Holidays are often a time of nostalgia. It is easy to get lost in the days gone by. But, as a newly sober individual, you cannot let yourself get pulled into this daydreaming. Instead, it is important that you stay in the moment; the “now.”
Focus on today and all that it brings – and leave your past behind.
The holidays can be full of fun if you are prepared. Being sober can be rewarding, but it takes a lot of work. Follow these tips for facing a healthy, sober holiday season. And remember to find things that fulfill your inner sense of joy – and ignore the rest.