Sobriety and the Holidays
It’s no secret that the holidays are some of the best and most difficult days of the year for most people. There’s the exciting thrill of tradition, festivity, and food that brings families together and creates a sense of warmth and belonging. But there’s also the stress of it all and the inevitable alcohol that gets brought out for celebrations. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are a major three-fold punch to the gut for a recovering alcoholic. But there are ways to cope with the urges and triggers that will loom like the ghost of drunken past during these next few weeks.
Have a Plan
You know which uncle will bring the holiday cognac and where grandma keeps the sherry. Don’t try to kid yourself. This will not be easy. For someone struggling with a diet during the holidays, it’s almost a cruel joke the amount of sugar and chocolate that gets paraded around. Alcohol is the same. Know that you’re going to have to be prepared to resist the egg nog and holiday toasts. Take a non-alcoholic option that you can hold close and nurse throughout the events of the season or else those little bubbles will call to you.
If you’re a recovering alcoholic, don’t act like your closest friends and family don’t know it. They all know it just as much as you so embrace this, rather than hiding from it. Have someone be your anchor during family gatherings, steering you away from temptation and keeping an eye on you for relapse. Let people know that you’re staying sober so it’s no dirty secret. Go in the other room when heavy drinking is going on and have your non-alcoholic toast ready for the moment everyone else grabs a drink.
Create New Traditions
If you come from a family where alcohol is part of the holiday season, you’re going to have to accept that it’s time to leave these customs behind. Embrace that you’re building new traditions for your family by eliminating the drinking. Create holiday moments that are about togetherness and family without the focus on mind-altering substances. Hot chocolate can create warm memories just the same as egg nog.
If you go into the holiday season with a plan, an ally, and a determination to create new holiday moments, you’ll be able to resist the temptations toward relapse and enjoy yourself.
We have some more tips for how to stay sober during the holidays... if you hadn't see our other article arleady make sure to check it out!