While the holidays are all about celebration, I find it to be the most stressful time of the year. As an alcoholic in recovery, it is extremely difficult for me to be in a room full of merrymakers drinking alcohol. It seems to be at every party and at every family gathering. And invariably, there is always that one person who tries to get you to “lighten up”, telling you one drink won’t kill you, have some fun. The temptation became so great that I found myself avoiding every get together.
I realized I would have to find ways to cope or I would be missing out on spending time with my family and friends during the holidays. This is what I came up with:
Picking my Battles Carefully
I decided to limit myself to attending one get together with friends or coworkers and one family function. Otherwise, I avoided situations where alcohol was going to be present. Some of these are:
- Meals in bars
- Meals in clubs
- Family functions
By just selecting two places a year to go to and employing the strategies below, I am now able to stay sober during the holidays.
Just Say No
While much easier said than done, it is possible. There are several ways to make saying no easier:
- I keep a non-alcoholic drink in my hand at all times. That way no one should offer me anything. If I have to, I bring my own beverage with me.
- Decline any offers by citing work or health issues.
- Make eye contact while firmly saying no thank you.
- Plan answers ahead so I don’t have to think of something to say on the spot.
These methods make saying no much easier.
Be a Designated Driver
This allows me to enjoy the festivities knowing that I have an excuse at the ready. It makes it so much easier to enjoy the company of my family, friends, and colleagues while remaining sober. Some of the benefits of being a designated driver are:
- No pressure to drink
- Not missing out on anything
- Free non-alcoholic beverages at most restaurants, bars, and clubs
- The opportunity to provide safe travel for all of my family and friends who choose to go out and party.
These benefits make it an ideal way to avoid drinking during the holidays.
Don’t Keep it Bottled Up
I have found that by talking out my fears with someone who I trust to have my best interests at heart helps me to stay strong while there is alcohol present. I have called:
- My recovery group sponsor
- A trusted family member
- A close friend
- My therapist
Getting support from people like this really makes the difference between sobriety and drinking during the holiday season.
Ask for Help
Sometimes the pressure of the season can become overwhelming. When I feel like that, I never allow myself to go it alone without getting help first. I will attend a meeting before I attend a holiday function, and sometimes I will go to another meeting afterward. If I am really struggling, I will call my sponsor or my therapist. Remember, no matter what strategies you choose to implement, be sure to have a solid plan in place and always give yourself an out, and you will find that you really can enjoy the holiday season. If you are concerned about a loved one who may need treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction, please contact Oceanfront Recovery today to discuss detox and treatment options. One of our professional and compassionate intake advisors will speak with you at 877-279-1777 today.