Holidays can be full of love, fun, and family. They are also marked by challenges, frustration, loneliness, temptation, and serious discomfort.
Whether this is our first sober holiday or our fifteenth, anxiety, depression, and the temptation to use are real issues we struggle with. The beauty of recovery is that we have the opportunity to face the challenges of the season (financial stress, family stress, temptation stress) as sober men and women. We can walk through discomfort and pain one day (sometimes one minute) at a time without picking up a drink or a drug.
Here are some tips for staying sober during the holidays that we can use to carry us through to 2014 with a clean head and heart:
Have a travel plan:
11.0pt”> We often have great meetings and support in the places we live, but when we travel for the holidays, our meetings and sponsors are many miles away. Be prepared! Check the local meetings online, chat with a sponsor before leaving town, and create a meeting schedule and stick to it. Having a daily meeting plan in place is a sanity saver when things get rocky.
Steer clear of temptation party spots: It’s just not worth it! There’s nothing to prove and no need to be in places where we feel our sobriety is in danger. Always have an escape route (drive there, know the bus/transportation schedule), and when in doubt, leave! If we feel that cunning, baffling, powerful call of using, we can leave. We can explain later by text or a call, but if a drink or drug is calling out, leave through the back door and keep safe! No party is worth hard-earned sobriety.
Ask friends and family for support: We can be honest and open with loved ones about what a challenging time this is. We can ask for parties to be alcohol-free, or for special non-alcoholic beverages (sparkling cider!) to be on-hand so we can feel part of the celebrations.
Have an easy explanation for not drinking: If we feel vulnerable talking about recovery to just anyone who asks, we can have an easy answer on-hand. One simple response to why we’re not drinking: “Drinking felt great for a while, but lately it doesn’t feel good, so I’m not drinking anymore, but thank you, I have my sparkling cider right here, cheers!”
Commit to calling a sober friend each day: We can check in on our friends’ recovery and ask how they are. When we reach out to others, we help them to stay sober, and just as important, we help ourselves to stay connected, to stay motivated, and to get through challenging times by being of service to others.
We can get through these holidays sober and with integrity. There may be hard moments, but knowing that we have no regrets or “what happened” moments waiting for us in the morning is a gift beyond any measure. Sobriety is indeed miraculous.
For more tips for staying sober during the holidays, contact The Pat Moore Foundation Treatment Center. Phone support is offered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (888) 342-7748.
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Arial;color:#222222″>About the Author: Camille Wilson loves to live a sober life. She worked in public health for years and now works as a writer, a dream she had for so long but was always too scared to pursue! Sobriety gave her the opportunity to believe in her dreams. She is amazed and grateful for the opportunity to work with the Pat Moore Foundation, write about recovery, and carry the message of hope to others walking this challenging, rewarding path.