Being a recovering alcoholic is hard. The truth is that alcohol is available everywhere you go. Not only that, but around the holidays it is advertised everywhere, given as gifts, and an accepted and expected part of any and every celebration. This makes it hard for someone who is trying to stay sober, especially when you are in early recovery.
There are things you can do to ensure that you don’t feel tempted to drink, which would lead to a relapse. Always remember that protecting your sobriety comes first and foremost above all else.
Navigating the Holidays as a Recovering Alcoholic
The most important thing to remember when you are a Recovering Alcoholic is that yes, you are different from all the other people out there who can have a drink or two and stop there. You won’t stop until bad things happen. Thinking that something has changed and that you will be able to stop will likely lead to a problem and a major relapse that will put you back at square one. So, the first thing to do is admit that alcohol is a huge no-no, no matter what!
Depending on where you are in your recovery, you’ll want to evaluate how much you can handle. If you think that going to your friend’s annual Thanksgiving party that usually gets out of hand will be too tempting, skip it this year. Same goes for any other events that would lead to relapse. You are allowed to say no to people, so do so at your own discretion.
Staying Safe from Relapse
One of the most important contributing factors to your recovery is the people you surround yourself with. Make sure that you have a strong support system made up of people who have your best interest in mind and who want you to stay sober. These are the people to stick to because they will have your back and help you stay strong when temptation is present.
If you do decide to go to any events, it is smart to take a sober friend along. There is strength in numbers and if both of you are committed to staying sober, you’ll be able to lean on each other for support or to get out of a situation together if need be.
Decide ahead of time what you will tell people when they offer you alcohol. Because, regardless of your situation, someone will most likely offer you a drink. If you feel comfortable telling them you are in recovery, you can tell them that. The good thing is that they are likely to stop nagging you after you say that. If you aren’t comfortable talking about your personal business, you can always blame it on feeling under the weather, being on medication, or an allergy to alcohol. At the end of the day, no means no. Anyone who persists after you decline a drink has problems of their own.
Look for Recovering Alcoholic Support
If loneliness during the holidays is a factor for you, find support ahead of time. Turn to friends and family who support your sobriety. Also, it isn’t a bad idea to go to more 12 step meetings to occupy your time, discuss what’s on your mind, and meet new people. Make sure that you aren’t alone and that you always have something to do. Even if you don’t have friends or family around, you can volunteer your time to help others to give yourself some purpose and drive.
The holidays can be hard but it certainly isn’t necessary to relapse. Get everything in order before the time comes, have a plan, and you’ll be able to cruise through the holiday season without a hitch as a Recovering Alcoholic!