Whether it’s your first sober Christmas or your 21st, staying on track during the holidays can be a challenge. Navigating holiday parties and family dinners without drugs or alcohol is possible if you have a plan. If you need the support of an addiction treatment program this season, call The Bluffs today at 850.374.5331.
Having a Merry Sober Christmas
Staying in recovery gets easier with time, but holidays and other special occasions can be a major trigger for some people. You may feel lonely or lost without the drug- or alcohol-related traditions you’ve become accustomed to over the years. The more strategies you have to stay on track, the more you can relax and enjoy the special times with family and friends.
5 Tips for Staying Sober at Christmas
In addition to these tips, ask your sober mentors and mental health professionals about more ways to stay positive and aligned with your goals throughout the holiday season.
1. Have a Plan
What are you doing for Christmas? That’s a question that’s asked over and over again during the holiday season. If you’re committed to having a sober Christmas, it’s important that you actually have a clear answer to that question. Set up your personal holiday calendar in a way that supports your sobriety. Include things such as:
- Family gatherings
- Sobriety support meetings
- Sober celebrations
- Volunteer time
- Time for rest, exercise, and healthy habits
Balancing fun, self-care, and service to others will help you maintain your health goals through a hectic time. Having events to look forward to will also help you keep a positive attitude.
2. Know Your Triggers
If traditional Christmas celebrations include events, people, or places that increase your risk of relapse, remember that you don’t have to participate in them. It’s all right to build new traditions that support your sobriety. However, if you must attend triggering events, make sure you have a plan if things get stressful.
Let your sponsor or a supportive friend know where you will be, and arrange a time to contact them during and/or after the event. Decide on a time to leave (and an excuse for leaving if you need one). Volunteering to work in the kitchen or put up decorations will give you something to do if things feel uncomfortable.
3. Celebrate How Far You’ve Come
Staying sober at Christmas isn’t a punishment; it’s something to be proud of. Focus on all you have achieved since getting treatment. Even if your life isn’t yet all you hope for it to be, you are on the way to achieving your goals. The fact that you are not using drugs or alcohol is the best gift you could give yourself and those who care about you.
4. Focus on Others
The Christmas season is the perfect time to put the needs of others before your own. Volunteer at your church, community center, or other organizations to help those who are less fortunate. Participate in a toy drive for children or help serve food at a homeless shelter. Bringing joy to other people will remind you how wonderful it is to live a sober life.
5. Be Honest About Your Struggles
Don’t put on a happy face just because it’s Christmas. If you are feeling depressed or lonely, or if you’re worried about relapsing, talk about it with a mental health professional or during sobriety support meetings. Keeping your emotions bottled up is an unhealthy habit that increases your risk for relapse.
Find Support at The Bluffs
We understand how difficult it can be to stay sober at Christmas and other special times. Following our tips and reaching out to your sober network will help you stay on course. If you or someone you care about is worried about staying on their recovery program this holiday season, call The Bluffs at 850.374.5331.