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December 24, 2022

Tips For Staying Sober During The Holidays

Anyone who has been able to maintain sobriety during the past year or any portion of it should be commended. It's not an easy thing to do as indicated by the reality that nearly 45% of the people who go through treatment for the first time will relapse.

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December 24, 2022

As challenging as it can be to get from one day or month to the next during normal times, there is something about the holiday stress that ups the ante. Maybe, it has to do with the stress that's created by all of the excitement, hustle, and bustle of the season and family members. Perhaps, it has something to do with sober people getting exposed to too many drinking opportunities at holiday parties and family gatherings. There is a multitude of reasons that sobriety gets challenged during the holidays.

Are you looking forward to new traditions but concerned about maintaining your sobriety? Here at Hollywood Hills Recovery, we feel for you and understand the challenges you will face. In support of people just like you, we would like to offer the following eight (8) tips for staying sober during this challenging time of the year: the holiday season.

1. Don't Forget Me-Time

When you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it becomes easier to forget who you are and what you need to be doing. Who you are is a person in addiction recovery, and what you should be doing is everything possible to stay in recovery. Your life and well-being might depend on it.

You have every right to enjoy the festivities be it holiday traditions or having get-togethers with co-workers, friends, and relatives. At the same time, you don't want the festivities to distract you from your #1 mission, staying sober. During the busiest of times, don't forget to set aside a little me time to meditate and remember.

2. Stay Connected to Your Support Network

The holidays should not serve as a reason to miss AA meetings or avoid your favorite support resources. In fact, the holidays should serve as an excuse to do the opposite, stay in touch with your support system.

If you want or have to travel during the holidays, you can protect your sobriety in two (2) ways. First, you should reach out to members of your current support network and set times to connect with them while you are away. Second, you should take preemptive measures by locating support groups  close to your holiday destination. With a little effort, you should be able to find a little time to sneak away and be commensurate with the people who face the same challenges as you.

3. Make It About Them

One of the best ways to forget your own trials and tribulations is to reach out and serve others. While wrapped up in your own challenges, it's easy to forget many others have even bigger struggles. It is the holidays and some people are homeless or going through the holidays for the first time after losing a loved one.

Translation: holiday events are the perfect time to reach out and help people who need your help. Your time in recovery should serve as a reminder of how tough it is to struggle when everyone else around you is enjoying the festivities.

It won't take much to make a difference. Here are some ways to serve others during the holidays;

  • Buy a meal or shoes for a homeless person
  • Volunteer to serve food in a soup kitchen
  • Sponsor a holiday meal for a poverty-challenged family
  • Help the elderly do some holiday shopping

4. Avoid Situations That Might Challenge You

It's the holidays. There will be parties and get-togethers that include food and "drink." These are situations that will test the mettle of your sobriety. They might also serve as stressors to the cravings one is trying to avoid during the sober holiday. Is it necessary for you to put yourself in these kinds of situations during the holidays?

No one is suggesting you should avoid family and friends during their holiday celebrations. It's important that you choose your festivities wisely and make sure you have safeguards in place to keep you on the straight and narrow path of recovery and avoid any relapse triggers as they may come.

5. Make a List of Your Triggers and Check It Twice

The holidays are the perfect time to plan ahead and make lists. There are shopping lists and New Year's resolution lists. Even Santa makes a list and checks it twice.

Now is a good time to make a list of everything that triggers you to drink. With each entry, you should decide ahead of time how you will manage a trigger that shows its ugly head during the holidays.

6. Make Exit Plans

If you feel in control enough to attend festivities, it's okay to give it a try. At the same time, you don't want to get trapped in a treacherous situation. So, make escape plans. Don't be afraid to let people know your challenges and enlist the services of others to help you remove yourself if you start wavering. Having an exit strategy can help you avoid even having to say no as you won’t even be pushed to make a decision that could jeopardize your sober life.

7. Don't Elevate Your Expectations

Disappointments might well create within you the need to drink. Disappoints tend to occur when folks set their expectations too high. During the holidays, be humble. Don't place any undue expectations on yourself or others. Your job is clear, don't relapse. As long as you do that, how could you possibly be disappointed about anything else? You will have won.

8. Give Thanks

Gratitude is the best attitude during the holidays. It's the holidays and you are sober. You have a lot for which to be thankful. Take a moment and show your gratitude to your support network, the family who stood behind you during difficult times, and the sober friends who fill your life. Oh, be grateful to yourself for your perseverance in sober living.

If we, at Hollywood Hills Recovery, can be of service to you during the holidays, please feel free to contact us to find out more about treatment programs.

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