Helpful Tips to Stay Sober
The holidays are a joyful time, but the added stress of celebrations and the omniscient presence of alcohol can be a challenge for those working to stay sober. The good news is that making a plan can help you and your loved ones enjoy the holiday without derailing your progress.
1. Identify your triggers
Think back to past holidays. Were there times or situations that you found particularly stressful? When were you most likely to rely on substances? What feelings do you associate with needing to consume substances? Recognizing any patterns associated with your addiction can help you be mindful so you can avoid repeating them. If there are any events that you know will be barriers to your sobriety, opt out.
2. Form an escape plan
This idea, from the Hazeldon Betty Ford Foundation, centers around planning ways you can prepare for and/or leave situations that are risky for your health. You might practice the words you will use to refuse alcohol, attend a meeting before attending a party, and make sure you have the ability to make a quick exit if necessary. If you have a trusted sponsor or friend you can talk to about your difficulties, keep their number on speed dial to use as challenges arise.
3. Start a new holiday tradition
Find ways to keep yourself busy that don’t put you in the path of substance use. Consider volunteering at a local nonprofit, taking up a new hobby, or even going on vacation. Host a sober gathering and connect with friends over a game night or a plate of holiday cookies.
4. Practice self care
Try to keep your mind and body optimally prepared to deal with additional stress by taking time for yourself. Adequate sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition can help you feel energized to face the holidays. Meditation and journaling can also be useful ways to process your feelings and help you stay mindful and focused on your priorities.
For more advice on navigating the holidays with addiction, see this resource from the OACBHA. If you need additional help, our partner organization, One-Eighty, offers a variety of services to support you in your journey, including counseling, treatment programs, and medical services. Use any and all support you need to help make your holiday season happy and healthy– you deserve it!
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