Arizona Addiction Treatment Center

Celebrating Sober: Stick with Your Recovery This Holiday

You Can Have a Festive and Fun Season Without Using

The holidays are often synonymous with open-bar parties, themed cocktails, and one too many bottles of wine on the table.  Whether you’re just starting your recovery or coming up on a year of sobriety, being around pushy merrymakers can try your patience and your self-control. 

Though your loved ones hopefully know about and support your recovery, disclosing your struggle with substance use to coworkers or friends-of-friends isn’t something most of us want to do.  Here are some ways to take care of yourself when the drinks start flowing. 

1. Consciously Plan for Obstacles

If you know you have a holiday event coming up, take a few moments at the start of the day to do a mental walkthrough.  Preparing to deal with cravings will make them easier to face in the moment.  Put together a strategy to deal with drink offers so you’re not put on the spot.

2. Bust Stress Before It Overwhelms You

Many of us drink, smoke, or use substances as a way to deal with strain or anxiety.  From looking for gifts in crowded stores, traveling through heavy traffic or crowded airports, and attending parties ‘til you’re ready to drop, the holidays seem tailored to stress us out.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, do some mindfulness exercises or set aside an hour or two for self-care.  The more relaxed and centered you feel, the easier you’ll find it to say “no” to bad habits.

3. Create Space Around Triggers and Cravings

For most people with substance use disorders, certain circumstances are associated so closely with using that it’s a battle to face them without drugs and alcohol.  Knowing your triggers is the first step to defeating them.  When you spot a situation that would normally induce you to reach for a drink or light up a cigarette, take a deep breath instead and remind yourself you have other options.

4. Have an Explanation Ready to Go

Show up to social events with an excuse (or two) prepared for why you won’t be drinking.  Most people will accept a simple “no, thanks,” but for pushy hosts or partygoers, try providing more detail:

  • I’m the designated driver tonight/I’m driving instead of using Uber this month to save for Christmas.
  • My friend/partner and I made a bet to see who could go the longest without drinking.
  • Thanks, but I’m taking a night off—this week has been rough!
  • I’m going on a cleanse/detox before my family’s big party/dinner.
  • I have a headache/stomachache.
  • Or simply tell them that you don’t drink.

Remember, if someone keeps pressing you to drink, you’re not being rude for turning them down or simply walking away.  They’re the ones behaving inappropriately.

5. Make Time for Recovery

It’s not just you—the weeks do seem to fly by between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Tight scheduling can make it difficult to keep up with your recovery-related activities.  While you’re deciding which gatherings and charity events to attend, leave yourself time to meet with your recovery group, therapist, and sober support or friend groups.  Everyone needs more help during the holidays.  Make a calendar commitment to getting the support you need to make the season a sober one.

6. Don’t Go Out

If you feel “off” and are too overwhelmed, don’t go out. If your instincts are telling you that attending a is a bad idea, trust your gut. Remember, your recovery should be your priority and it is not worth the risk to go out if something doesn’t feel right. You don’t have to please everyone or feel pressured to do something can risk your sobriety. I promise you, there will be other events in the future.

Decision Point Center Is Here to Support Your Sobriety Year-Round

We know that quitting a substance you’re addicted to is one of the hardest things anyone can do.  You may feel conspicuous not drinking at a holiday party, but most people don’t spare more than a passing thought for others’ food and beverage choices.  If you’re not ready to face the holidays alone, a professional can help you make a relapse prevention plan

Even for those in recovery, the holidays can be a time of joy.  Reach out to our admissions team now at (844) 292-5010 if you or someone you love is ready to commit to sobriety.

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