For many, the holidays are a time of family, friends, and binging – whether that be cookies, Netflix shows, or alcohol. You have time off work, the food and booze is flowing, and the people around you are doing the same. So for people in recovery, the holidays can be a particularly difficult time of year. But there are a few tips and tricks to help you stay sober during the holidays:
- Plan activities other than sitting around. Often, during the holidays, friends and family tend to just sit around the house, eating and drinking. If you don’t have an activity to distract you, it can be easy to turn to alcohol. Plan activities with relatives such as movies, museums, concerts, ice-skating, etc. Activities can be indoors too – such as board games, movies, and more.
- If you’re going out of town, research meetings. Know before you get there where meetings are held in your family’s town.
- Avoid people you used to drink with. If you’re visiting the town you grew up in, chances are, you’ll know people in town that you used to drink with. Trips down memory lane or meeting up with friends you drank with can make sobriety even harder.
- Tell your friends and family. If the people around you know that you are trying to avoid alcohol, they are less likely to offer you a drink or talk about drinking in front of you.
- Holiday parties can be tough, but bringing your own non-alcoholic drink and keeping it in your hand all night (so no one asks you if you want a drink) can help you stay sober. If the temptation gets too high, be ready to leave.
- Have your sponsor or another sober friend close – even if these means just giving them the heads up that you might be calling them more than usual.
- Know what you will say when friends or family offer you a drink or ask why you’re not drinking. Having an answer prepared will keep you cool in the moment.
- Maintain your recovery routine as much as possible – continue to exercise, eat well, and meditate.
- Have positivity on hand – books, podcasts, friends, whatever reminds you that your sobriety is important and a good thing.
- Be ready for the New Year. Don’t let the end of the holidays drag you down and make you turn to alcohol. Get back into your work and routine and get excited for a fresh start.
Most importantly, know what works for you. Stressful family dynamics, friends you haven’t seen in a long time, and extended vacations can make sobriety harder than it normally is. Keep in mind what you need to do to stay sober. Prepare for the holidays and make sure you have the tools on hand to accomplish that.
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, or if you have questions about the services we offer, please contact us today at (360) 777-7050 for more information. We are located in the beautiful State of Washington. Free by the Sea is nationally recognized for offering dual-diagnosis, professional treatment options, successful rehabilitation, and addiction treatments individually personalized for men and women of all ages. Contact us today to schedule your treatment.
Dr. Richard Crabbe joined our team in 2019 as our psychiatrist and medical director. He attended the University of Ghana Medical School where he became a Medical Doctor in 1977. From 1978 through 1984, he was a medical officer in the Ghana Navy and provided a variety of services from general medicine to surgeries. He received his Certificate in General Psychology from the American Board of Psychology and Neurology in 2002.