How to stay sober during Christmas
Seeking recovery is a major decision the life of any addict. It’s a decision they make one time, and then they make it every single moment of every single day for the rest of their lives. Addicts are never cured. Recovery is a goal, but it’s not the end of the game. Recovery is a lifelong process. No one is recovered from addiction until they are no longer present in the world. An addict is in recovery from the moment they take their last sip of alcohol or their last drug, and that recovery lasts until they relapse or leave the earth. Recovery is a daily decision. It’s a minute by minute decision ever addict makes, and it’s never simple. It’s easy some days, and it’s difficult other days. It’s usually more difficult for addicts to stay sober during Christmas, and there are several tips addicts can use to help get through this time of year without a relapse.
Make Other Plans
Christmas is difficult for addicts because it means temptation after temptation. One of the best ways an addict can avoid temptation is to keep the holiday season busy with fun plans. Instead of freeing up every weekend for one holiday party after the next, book a camping trip with the family. Roast s’mores and play in the snow. Go skiing with people who support you. Make your own plans, and don’t wait around for other people to ask you to join their plans. There’s a reason for this. The busier you are doing things you enjoy, the less time you have to sit around and wish you were doing something else.
Limit Time at Gatherings
There’s some truth to the fact that you do have to make an appearance at certain events. If the boss says the company Christmas party isn’t mandatory to attend yet highly suggests you make an appearance, you make an appearance. The fun is flowing at parties like these, and it’s best to limit your time to just the most crucial point of the evening. For instance, if the party is a sit-down dinner, go for dinner and make your exit before the eggnog shots start flowing. It’s easy to say goodbye early than to miss something so important, but it’s often what’s best for sobriety.
The same goes for any family gatherings. Make an appearance at the events that you know are important to your loved ones, and make your exit before things get too rowdy. The beginning of most events is relatively laid-back, so this is a good time to show up, make some small talk, join the fun and festivities, and then head home.
Skip Family Drama
A family is both the most beautiful thing in the world and the worst. No one can love you like your family. In the same sense, no one can hurt you like your family. If there’s family drama, it’s a good idea to skip it. This is the kind of drama that likely causes addicts trigger points, and it’s best to avoid it. You don’t have to skip the entire family gathering throughout the holidays. You can host one of your own with family members who don’t stress you out, or you can visit your family individually throughout the season so you don’t have to spend time with the in-laws who treat you poorly, or the aunt who criticizes everything you do.
If you must attend a family function and drama ensues, learn to let it go. Don’t find yourself alone with the aunt who judges you. Don’t let yourself become cornered by your grandmother who wants to know why you did this or haven’t done that. If the family drama begins, simply excuse yourself without worrying about an explanation. People who can’t control themselves don’t need one.
It’s the simplest thing to say, but it’s also the hardest. No is a complete sentence, and it requires nothing else of you. You need not say anything after. If you aren’t sure you can handle any situation during Christmas, don’t go. It’s that simple. You can explain it if you feel it’s necessary to someone important to you, but you can say no in many ways. It works when someone asks you to go somewhere that might trigger you. It works when someone asks you to just have one drink. It works when someone is stressing you out.
The holidays are the best time of year to do for others. If you are worried you can’t make good decisions this time of year, try volunteering. It’s a wonderful way to spend your time, and it helps you feel good about yourself. It’s also one way to remind you just how good you have it in comparison to others.
An evening volunteering at a soup kitchen is often all it takes to show you what happens when people lose it to their addictions. Doing something that allows you to give back is all it takes for some addicts to get through the holidays. It provides you an opportunity to do something for others, which helps you continue respecting yourself. It also removes you from situations in which people might be tempted to party, and it makes your recovery more successful during Christmas.
Christmas is one of the most beautiful times of the year, but it’s one of the most stressful. It’s expensive to buy gifts for the people in your life. It’s not easy to avoid temptation and some of the biggest causes of stress in an addict’s life peak this time of year. Your kids want this and you can’t afford it. Your family is around, and they stress you out. The reasons you might struggle this time of year are numerous, but you can stay sober during Christmas. Keep your sponsor close. Find a program in your area. Pick up the phone and call someone who supports you when you feel overwhelmed. There are people who want to help, if only you allow them to do that.