It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like A Sober Holiday

The holidays will be here before you know it, and you’re probably already preparing for the upcoming festivities. Perhaps you’re getting ready for Thanksgiving, but people are already decking the halls and getting ready to do the jingle bell rock. Soon, everybody will be whistling their favorite carols, hanging stockings by the chimney with care, and putting out the menorah. Yes, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa.

The good news is, this year, you’ll be sober for the holidays. Despite how you might be feeling, this IS good news. There are a lot of blessings for you to count this winter season. Most importantly – you’re not being driven by the obsession and compulsion of active addiction. This alone ought to give you something to get excited about!

Nevertheless, many people in recovery struggle during the month of December because they associate the holidays with drugs and alcohol. Holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Eve bring with them plenty of alcohol and invitations to get hammered. Being sober for the holiday season might seem difficult, but having a relapse prevention plan in place can go a long way to make sure you stay sober in the weeks to come. Plus, we’ll give you four reasons to lift your glass of apple cider and say, “Cheers! I love being SOBER for the holidays!”

Gear Up For The Holidays With A Relapse Prevention Plan

The holidays can be a stressful time, and coming up with ways to be prepared to stay sober during this time of year is very important. The best way to do this is to create a relapse prevention plan with your sponsor and develop some health coping strategies to make sure you stay safe during the month of December.

Here are seven simple suggestions we have for staying sober and coping during the holidays:

  1. Make the commitment now that – no matter what – you are going to stay sober through the holidays. If you have any reservations about staying clean this month, share them with your sponsor. Being firm in your resolution to remain sober (despite what may come your way) will go a long way to get you through the month.
  2. Identify your triggers. Be aware of what people, places, and things trigger you to want to drink or use drugs and stay away from them. If you can’t stay away from them, don’t go near them without a plan and a buddy.
  3. Remember, you don’t have to go just because you were invited. With the holidays come many invitations. That doesn’t mean you have to go. If you know you are going to be triggered to drink or do drugs in certain environments, steer clear.
  4. If you want to go to family events, but you still feel shaky in your recovery and you’re afraid you might be triggered, bring your sponsor or a sober friend along.
  5. Bring your own favorite non-alcoholic beverage and cup with you when you go to parties. This way, if people offer you a drink, you can politely reply with, “Thanks! I already have one!”
  6. Always have your phone handy. Don’t go anywhere without it. If you feel triggered to drink or use drugs, leave the situation and call your sponsor or a sober friend immediately to process your feelings.
  7. Keep in mind that you don’t have to get caught up in the holiday madness. If you feel that the spirit of the season is a little too jolly for your somber, sober mood, opt out. Stay home, watch some movies, or go to a meeting instead.    

You’re prepared for the holidays with a relapse prevention plan in place. You’ve been armed with a few simple suggestions to make the holidays a little more bearable. Now, here are 4 things to love about the holidays now that you’re in recovery:

# 1 There Are A Lot Of Super Fun Sober Gatherings During The Holidays

You’ve been a good girl this year and because you’re the kind of gal everyone wants to be around, you can expect invitations. Lots of them. Whether they come by mail, telephone, text, or your favorite social networking site; you can count on being invited to lots of sober get-togethers and jolly good times galore this year.

Your sponsor, sober sisters, and friends in recovery are sure to request your attendance at various gatherings to make sure you stay safe during the holidays. Plus, since you’re in recovery, you’ve been attending 12-Step meetings. Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous put on all kinds of sober events to help people maintain their sobriety during the month of December. Check out local meetings happening around your city in case you need to go to one.

# 2 You Won’t Have To Ask For Forgiveness After The Holidays Have Passed

In years gone by, many of us made a complete fool of ourselves at family gatherings because we drank too much alcohol or popped too many benzos. Some of us didn’t show up at family gatherings at all because we were too high to make an appearance. After the holidays passed, we felt tremendous guilt and had to apologize to all our family members for our behavior.

This year, because you are clean, you can show up to family events nicely dressed in a cheerful mood ready to spend some quality time with family – without worrying that your behavior will spoil the evening. You won’t get sloshed and ruin dinner and you won’t look back on any family photos with an overwhelming sense of shame. This is sure to earn you a spot on Santa’s “nice” list for years to come!

# 3 You Will Remember The Festivities Because You Won’t Be Wasted

How many holiday events are a complete blur to you because you spent the entire time in a drug or alcohol- fueled holiday haze? Not this year! This holiday season, you can rest-assured that you will be able to cherish the memories you create with your friends and family because you will be sober. You will engage in meaningful conversations, experience true joy, and be able to laugh authentically. There is nothing quite like spending a holiday sober. It really is so much better than to spend the occasion boozing it up.

# 4 You Probably Have More Money To Do Things For The People You Care About

Now that you’re not spending your money frivolously on your addiction to heroin, alcohol, or cocaine – or whatever your drug of choice was – you’ve got more money in your pocket. This will allow you to do nice things for your family and friends for the holidays.

Maybe you’re planning to put on a nice meal or get your loved ones a few precious gifts. In years gone by, you may not have been able to do anything for anyone because you were caught up in your addiction. Or, maybe you weren’t there at all. This year will be different.

Of course, if you can’t afford to do anything for your friends and family this year, that’s okay too – it really is! Just seeing you clean and sober will be a joyous enough occasion for all your special peeps!

We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa… And A Happy New Year!

The holidays are a stressful time for everyone – whether you’re sober or not. Don’t let the stress overshadow the joy of the season. Sip some hot cocoa, put your feet up by the roaring fire, nibble on some yummy cookies, and enjoy yourself and your loved ones. Afterall, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! We hope you have a safe and sober holiday season!

Should you find yourself, or a loved one, struggling this season Women’s Recovery is here to provide support!