The holidays can cause excessive stress that doesn’t happen during the rest of the year. Pressure to prepare specialty foods and find the perfect gifts for all your family and friends can feel daunting. For many people, the holidays also offer an ideal excuse to overindulge in food and drinks – especially alcohol. If you’ve never navigated the holiday season sober, you might not be mentally ready to cope with the month ahead. Here are some tips you can use to prepare for your first sober holiday season.
1. Create New Traditions
It’s possible to celebrate without drinking, even on occasions like New Year’s Eve. Break the connection between alcohol and the holiday season by starting a brand-new tradition, like volunteering for a community organization such as a shelter for homeless pets or people. You’ll enjoy the feel-good benefits of giving back to others while viewing your circumstances from a new perspective. As another bonus, you’ll remember everything that happened, and you won’t wake up with regrets or a hangover the next day.
2. Count on Your Sober Support Group
It’s crucial to rely on your sober support system, especially during the holidays. If a family gathering starts to feel too triggering, you’ll want to be able to turn to your recovery sponsor, therapist or people you’ve met in your 12-step group. They’ve likely found themselves in the same position, so they can advise you on what to do and remind you that you aren’t alone.
3. Have an Exit Strategy
If you decide to attend a holiday party, you’ll need to plan carefully. Other guests who aren’t aware you’re in recovery might offer you a drink without realizing how risky that could be for you. One way to prepare for this is to bring a small cooler full of your favorite non-alcoholic beverage. That way, you can keep your drink of choice close to hand at all times.
Another thing you can do is to rehearse what you’ll say if you feel too overwhelmed and need to leave early. It’s OK if you aren’t yet comfortable telling people you’re actively working to recover from an addiction, but you should still have a way to politely excuse yourself if necessary. No get-together is worth jeopardizing your hard-earned sobriety.
4. Remind Yourself of Your Goals
It’s a myth that alcohol makes the holiday season more fun and enjoyable, but amid the challenges of early recovery, a trying time like the holidays can be a particular struggle. You might find yourself romanticizing your addiction, while glossing over all the ways substance abuse was detrimental to your life. If you find yourself struggling, make a list of all the reasons you decided to seek a sober lifestyle, and refer to it often. It might help to write these down and post them in visible spots like your kitchen cupboards or bathroom mirror.
Long Beach Addiction Recovery
With professional help, you can learn to manage your addiction and reestablish control over your life. Discover all the possibilities of a substance-free life with compassionate long-term treatment at New Found Life. We provide a full continuum of care in Long Beach, California. Connect with us to request help today.