Five Practices for Staying Sober During the Holidays

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For people living in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, staying sober during the holidays can sometimes feel challenging. Following a few best practices can help you manage your sobriety successfully during the holidays and start the New Year even stronger in your recovery.

How to Stay Sober During the Holidays

1. Maintain Your Recovery Routine

Be sure to stay on your schedule as best you can. The holidays can throw schedules into chaos. Be mindful to keep your 12 step meeting schedule, church if you attend, and self-care routine including meditations or workouts. Keeping your daily routine on track will help you stay focused on recovery. Stay connected to your sponsor and recovery community. Remember, each piece of additional treatment and support only strengthens your stand against relapse.

2. Pass on Triggering Events

Office parties, family gatherings, neighborhood celebrations, New Year’s Eve with friends – your first go-round of staying sober during the holidays may require you to skip annual events that involve open bars or a heavy focus on alcohol consumption.

You are free to skip a year and focus on yourself, specifically on your health and well-being. The best way to manage triggers is to avoid them altogether, especially early in recovery. Keep building on your recovery foundation and reevaluate the party invites next year.

During the holidays, AA and NA have many gatherings that serve as safe and smart alternatives to alcohol-infused parties. They can also provide a more meaningful experience.

3. Have a Holiday Party Plan

If you do attend a party where drinks are served, prepare yourself for the event. Walk through potential party scenarios and how you will react. Plan your arrival and departure, who you will spend time with – and who you will not. Bring your own or select a festive nonalcoholic option and have an exit or even escape strategy if you start to feel anxious. Make sure you have your own transportation so that you can leave quickly if you feel uncomfortable. Call your sponsor before the party and walk through the plan. And, bring the address of the nearest AA meeting, just in case. Having a plan will help you stay focused on your desired outcome – staying sober during the holidays.

4. Communicate with Loved Ones

Share with your family and friends so they can help and support your recovery. In addition, be mindful during holiday planning. A supportive family can make the difference between recovery and relapse. Family members need to get involved in their own recovery from codependency.  Then, you and your loved ones can work together as a team to recover together and avoid holiday relapse.

5. Lend a Helping Hand

Skip the party and head out to help others. There are countless opportunities to serve your community during the holidays. Homeless shelters, recovery programs, community toy drives – volunteer to help others this season and stay out of your head. Participate in charitable giving or adopt someone who could use some holiday hope and cheer. Use the opportunity to engage deeper into your AA or recovery support group. Keep a check on your sober friends and offer support. Do something that is good for humanity and your recovery this season to avoid relapse.

How to Get Help After Relapse

Each holiday season, millions of Americans successfully maintain their sobriety by having a plan in place to avoid and manage triggers. At Valley Hope Addiction Treatment and Recovery, we also provide extensive recovery resources to the community, and we provide our alumni with a free recovery support system that provides ongoing opportunities that empower your sobriety.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance abuse, don’t wait to get help – hope and healing are available at Valley Hope 24/7.

Valley Hope provides a full continuum of substance abuse care including online addiction treatment through 14 programs across six states including Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. Our programs provide compassionate, evidenced-based therapies, medical detox services, residential treatment, outpatient treatment and virtual treatment programs. Learn more about our admissions process here.

For immediate help, call our Local Admissions Team at (800) 544-5101 and give yourself and your family the gift of recovery this holiday season.