Staying Sober During the Holidays

2 min read

We have all heard the saying “There’s no place like home for the holidays…” A time when people surround themselves with friends and family for celebrations. But what if your family/friends are triggers? Or, going to a holiday party guarantees access to alcohol and drugs? For many, this is a reality. 

So how do you stay sober for the holidays? 

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation offers tips such as: Creating an escape plan, thinking about your story surrounding the holidays, staying helpful, being mindful of what you are consuming, recognizing triggers, practicing self-care, and considering rehab (Hazelden Betty Ford, 2022). Some of these tips might seem easier said than done.

So let's take a minute to focus on creating an escape plan. The most important step in escape plan creation is knowing when it is time to make your escape. This is where your triggers come in. Triggers as defined by NAMI, 2022, are actions or situations that cause adverse emotional reactions. You may notice that your triggers cause reactions in your body. For instance, tightness in your stomach, balling of your fists, or dryness of your mouth. Before your sobriety, maybe you coped with these feelings by turning towards drugs, alcohol, or other behaviors. Now when you begin to experience these feelings you must take a minute to stop and think. Will this threat fade away? Or, is it time to leave the situation? 

Remember if it is time to leave it is okay to do so. Your wellness is the priority in this situation and you have worked hard to get to this point in your recovery journey. Having your plan created prior to this uncomfortable moment will make it easier to react in a positive way. Think about the situation and determine the best way to exit. At family/friend events it may be more difficult to quietly slip away. If this is the case, is there someone you trust there that can handle the questions about your “disappearance”? Or, a message you can have prepared to let someone know you are safe but had to go? 

If you have a sponsor it might also be a good time to reach out to them. This can provide you with extra support at that moment. Furthermore, it is important that you are prioritizing safety in each plan.

Once you are away from the gathering, think about what you need to do for yourself. What coping skills might be helpful? Is there a meeting that you can attend nearby? Lastly, do not forget to celebrate your growth and the strength you demonstrated at that moment.

When thinking about how you can implement these tips into your holiday planning you may find that you need some guidance. Here at Lifeologie, we have counselors who specialize in substance abuse and addiction who are happy to assist with all of the tricky situations holidays bring on.

About Darian Lopez

Darian believes that clients are experts in their lives and experiences, and lets curiosity guide her in individualizing approaches for everyone who she has the pleasure of working with. Her goal is to empower clients to create change within their lives and make their worlds into places they would like to exist within.

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