Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years can be challenging time when you are a recovering alcoholic. The holidays themselves and the many parties and get-togethers in between are sure to be filled with plenty of tempting kinds of wine, champagne and cocktails.
While everyone is celebrating with drinks you might feel like the odd man out. As a sober person you might be bothered by memories of the fun times you had drinking at holiday parties in the past.
There is always the danger that since it is a time of celebration you might feel justified in just having one drink. You might feel tempted to deal with the sometimes painful emotions of spending time with your family by drinking.
However, if you want to stay committed to your sobriety throughout the holidays here are some tips for getting through it all safely.
1. Have a Game Plan
If you know you are going to be in a situation where you will feel tempted to drink it is a good idea to be prepared and know how you are going to handle certain things that are bound to come up. You can have a few polite responses ready when people offer you a drink.
You don't have to talk about your recovery if you don't feel up to it, you can simply say no thank you or "I'm not drinking tonight". Another thing you can plan out is when you will arrive and leave. Coming early and leaving early before people begin drinking heavily can be a good way to still attend the party but avoid being in a bad situation.
2. Stay Connected with Your Decision
In the midst of celebration with drinks all around you it is easy to forget your resolve and why you decided to quit in the first place. Always remind yourself why your sobriety is important to you and stay connected with your reasons for not drinking.
Whenever you feel the urge to drink you can remind yourself why drinking became a negative aspect of your life and how you knew that you needed to quit. You can even write things down and keep it in your pocket or purse to read when you are feeling tempted to drink.
3. Go to Meetings as Often as Possible
If you are a member of a twelve step program then the holidays are a good time to attend more meetings than you usually do. The supportive environment will help you forget about your desire to drink and give you an outlet to talk about your experiences at holiday parties and issues with your family that may be affecting you.
You can also listen to other people's stories and know that you are not alone in the things you are going through.
4. Have a Sober Buddy and Support System
When you are really doubtful of your resolve it can be comforting to have a sober buddy with you at a party that is in the same position as you. You will have them to talk to and connect with whenever you are thinking about drinking.
Throughout the holidays you need to have a support system to help you through temptation. Think of someone you can always call when you need help and guidance.
5. Enjoy the Season and Its True Spirit
At the heart of it, the holidays are not really about drinking and food but about spending time with loved ones, generosity and gratitude. If you focus on the true spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas then you can avoid some of the negative feelings that might come up in this time of year and truly experience the joy and love of the holiday season.