by Revival Transitional Living
on December 6, 2019
The holiday season is officially in full swing. Sometimes it can feel like a full sprint after Halloween to get through New Year’s. Day Thanksgiving is traditionally all about family and for those in early recovery or trying to maintain their sobriety it can feel like a daunting task to get through Thanksgiving dinner. If you made it through Thanksgiving dinner and moving onto Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever holiday you celebrate here are some tips for remaining clean and sober.
- Have a plan
Just making yourself aware that you need a plan is the first step to committing to recovery throughout the holiday season. Having a plan means you know how long you plan on staying somewhere, you have an exit plan, and you have some ready answers for any questions that may make you uncomfortable. Have a plan for the entire day or couple days and you will not fail.
- Be drink ready
Be non-alcoholic drink ready. This might mean walking into a family function with a drink in hand. People are less likely to ask you if you want a drink and less likely to bring you a drink when you have a drink in your hand. Walk into the family function with a drink in hand or head right for the soda, coffee or water to grab something.
- Have a meeting ready
If you are traveling during the holiday season make sure you pick out local meetings in the area. Always have a time and location of a meeting ready to go. For example, if you know you are having family dinner at 5pm make sure you have a 7:30 pm meeting ready but also have a 9pm meeting ready. If things aren’t going well you have the option to leave earlier because you have a meeting scheduled, but if things are going well you know you have a back up plan without missing a meeting for the day. 12 step meetings are typically around the clock during the holiday season, make sure you research them and are prepared.
- Utilize your support network
Staying sober during the holidays can be less difficult when you have a good support network. Hopefully you have an ally in your family who understands your recovery journey and is there to be a positive support. If not, now is the time to utilize the phone and text or whatever for of communication you need to stay in contact with positive supports. Having that support network on call makes it easier if faced with a situation your instinct will be to reach out and not act impulsively.
- Accept the Power of the word “no”
Understanding that you can simply use the word no without an explanation can go far during family holiday experiences. “Do you want a drink? NO.” “Are dating yet? NO.” “Have you gone back to school yet? NO.” “Do you want to go out with us after dinner? NO.” It is okay to say “no” without explanation. You are right where you are suppose to be in your recovery process if you are working toward enhancing your spiritual condition and working on what ever recovery process you feel most comfortable in.
The holiday season can be a struggle for those trying to get clean and sober and those struggling with substance use disorders. Sometimes the holiday season is the first time someone who is in recovery is spending a lot of time with their families since they got clean and sober. You don’t have to compromise your recovery because you are getting through the holiday season. For some of you, you still have families that don’t want to spend the holiday season with you. You are not alone. Utilize the holiday season to give back and act on selflessness. Utilize the holiday season to make deeper connections with those you know in 12 step programs or other programs that you have felt connected to. You can make it through the holiday season clean and sober. You are not alone. Happy Holidays!