The holidays are upon us! Christmas and the New Year are right around the corner. As is a mountain of temptation.
Some will fall to that temptation. They’ll give in and they will find themselves back at square one once all of the tinsel, glitter, and ribbons have been put away. They’ll regret this relapse, they’ll wish they hadn’t given in, they’ll beat themselves up a little bit over their failure, and then they will start over in their recovery journey; try to build up their resistance so that they can make it through the next holiday season.
But, many more will move through the holiday gatherings, parties, and events just fine. They’ll maintain sobriety and they’ll be made even stronger and more committed within their recovery journey.
Yes, it really is that simple.
Understanding what you are walking into and being prepared for it. Family traditions, work parties, friends’ gatherings; you’ve seen it all and been to it all before. So, you can prep for it all and go into it all with a toolkit that will ensure that you maintain sobriety through the entire holiday season.
Here are a few tips to help with that prep work.
Keep Your Sobriety Top-Of-Mind
Be thankful for your sobriety, recall all of the hard work you’ve put in to get to and maintain your sobriety, and always remember that your life is better now because you are sober. No matter how long you’ve been sober – 1 day or 15 years – do not forget this journey that you are on and the work necessary to stay on that path.
Before you dive into the holiday gatherings and festivities, talk with your sober friends and/or your sponsor. Go over your plan to maintain sobriety during the holidays, and help them go over their plan. Talk it out, get support, go in knowing that you are not the only one fighting to stay sober this time of year. And set up a time to talk and celebrate your continued sobriety after the holidays have finished. Having that meet-up as a defined date/time will help immensely in maintaining sobriety during the holidays.
When the invitations begin to come for holiday gatherings and parties, and you’ve established that you can handle the atmospheres at these select gatherings, go in as a sober person. Volunteer as DD, invite sober friends. Nowhere in the social handbook does it say that one must deviate from a sober path to have mountains of fun. That is even more true when others on the sober path are with you.
No Ground Given
Karen is gluten-free and everyone knows it. Bob, he’s lactose intolerant. And Sue will die if she even sees any sort of nut. These are all accepted illnesses.
You are sober. And that’s it. Set that boundary right away, make it known, and then move on. Others will nod and move on with you, just like they do with Karen, Bob, and Sue.
Exit in Place
Always have a way to duck out. Sometimes even a well known, much attended in the past event can get a little more crazy than anticipated. You do not need to hang around for that. It’s OK to say no, it’s OK to say goodbye, it’s OK to leave. Always have an exit strategy for when things start heading south.
Relax, chill out, converse, have fun. If you’re not obsessed with your surroundings, and you’re not stressed by the atmosphere, neither will be anyone around you.
Sobriety is a daily struggle, there is no doubt about that! But you’ve got this. Stay alert, do not allow temptation to creep in, but most importantly, enjoy the holiday season!