We are all at different stages of sobriety. With each stage comes a level of confidence and that can dictate how the following tips resonate with you. Just keep in mind, no matter what stage you are in, your sobriety has to come first. Be honest with yourself and listen to cues to recognize when you are feeling triggered.
It’s okay to do things different
It’s easy to get caught up in traditions. I understand that they have great meaning. But if there is a tradition that involves drinking and you are no longer comfortable in partaking, then don’t be afraid to speak up. It’s okay to take this season off especially if you don’t feel confident enough to be around it. If saying no to drinking is hard read my blog “7 Ways to Say No to Alcohol”
Don’t fall into people pleasing
This time of year we are all susceptible to falling into pleasing people. Family can be the worst at guilt tripping, am I right? While it is important to spend time with family during the holiday’s some family members might not be best for your sobriety. Be sure to avoid conflict and if you need to limit your visit be sure to do so. Don’t mess up all your efforts so that someone else is happy or comfortable. You deserve to feel comfort too.
Hang out with the kids
Whether it’s your own children, nieces, nephews, cousins, or siblings hang with the kids. So many holiday gatherings have the adults getting hammered in one area and the kids hyped up on sugar, running around in another area. You want to be with the kids, they are having way more fun. Help them put together new toys, or play a game with them. Remember when you were a kid and how fun the holiday’s were. Who wants to sit around, drink and listen to Aunt Sue tell the same damn stories again? The kid table is where it’s at.
Start new traditions
There is nothing wrong with changing it up a bit. Most likely your holiday’s are all starting to blend together from doing the same thing every year. This might look like changing up your menu or trying a new cookie recipe. Maybe you could drive around and look at Christmas lights? I mean, you won’t be to intoxicated to drive so why not? Go ice skating or sledding if the weather permits. Or you could do nothing at all. I know for my family that is our favorite part. Spending the whole day in our jammies and being lazy watching movies all day. It shouldn’t be stressful. Keep it simple, fun, and relaxing. Creativity is a huge perk in sobriety and now you have the ability to follow through since you won’t be drunk or hungover.
Don’t get caught in the moment
As we get more confident in our sobriety we sometimes think one won’t hurt. The problem with that thinking is when presented with the right opportunity we might believe it. The holidays are a perfect example of that opportunity arising. Giving yourself slack because it’s the holidays is no excuse to drink. You have to play it forward and remember that the regret you will feel is much worse then the fleeting craving. If you feel like you will be tempted and may cave set up a plan. Ask someone who supports your sobriety to be on stand by if the situation arises. If you have a supportive family member who will be at the gathering ask them to back you up. Remove yourself from the situation by going outside or in another area of the house and talk it out with your sober ally.
Give back to the community
Volunteering during the holiday’s is a great way to selflessly give back to your community. You could wrap presents for a local charity or small business. Donating food or toys to a local shelter for families in need. Make cookie trays for neighbors and friends. It’s about getting back to what the holiday’s are really about and away from using them as an excuse to drink. There are so many people less fortunate and to be able to spread joy and relieve some stress for someone else is priceless. And it will feel much better than numbing out on eggnog.
It’s important to check in with yourself during this time of year. We all feel this need to be selfless and that is a beautiful thing, but don’t forget to take care of you. The holidays can bring on a lot of stress so be sure to recognize when it is getting to be to much. Get plenty of rest and say no when you reach your limit. Let go of perfection, and remember to be present with those you love. Your sobriety is a gift, don’t ever forget that.
Yours Truly Sober,