With Christmas right around the corner, there are so many parties and get-togethers, and all of them seem to center around alcohol. As an alcoholic in recovery, what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year is the most challenging for me. However, I have learned over my years of sobriety that I can get through it, even enjoy it, without indulging in alcohol. Here are some tips I’ve learned along my journey:
Start a New Tradition
Traditions can be wonderful, but if your family’s and friends’ tradition is to sit around and drink, it’s time to start some non-alcoholic traditions of your own. Ask some of your nearest and dearest to participate with you. If none of them are willing to do so without alcohol, contact your sponsor. He or she may have a sober celebration planned.
Here are some ideas for new traditions:
- Bake and decorate some holiday cookies. You can ask a few people to participate in the baking with you. You can also organize a cookie-swap party where everyone brings a different type of cookie.
- Take a trip. Last year, I spent a weekend in New York City and went skating at Rockefeller Center. It was my first time ice skating, and while I wasn’t very good, I had a great time. By the time I was finished, the only drink I wanted was hot chocolate.
- Attend a Holiday Concert. In addition to paid venues, many churches offer beautiful Christmas concerts that are free.
Charitable organizations are busier during the holidays than any other time, and could really use your help. It is a great feeling to give back. I find it is the greatest gift of all. Here are some places you can offer your services:
- Soup Kitchens
- Food Banks
Connect with your Support Group
If you choose to attend a holiday party where alcohol will be served, stop in for a meeting before you go, and if need be, go to another meeting after you leave. It will help you maintain your resolve to stay sober.
Be sure to Get Plenty of Rest and Eat Well
The holidays can be a stressful time with all the extra running around. Staying rested and well-nourished is important so your blood sugar doesn’t crash, which can lead to poor decision making. I usually treat myself to a spa visit right before all the celebrating begins. It really helps manage my stress.
Make a Plan for Dealing with Cravings
Make a list of what works for you. Here are some of mine:
- Calling my sponsor or someone else who will support me.
- Working Out
Tell People You are now in Recovery
Being in recovery no longer carries the stigma it used to. Nearly everyone knows someone who is. I have found that by telling people, they are less likely to offer me a drink, and if they do, I have more power to resist it.
Don’t Go Alone
I usually bring a recovery buddy or a non-drinker with me to parties. If I can’t do that, I will:
- Tell the host, a friend, or even a waiter that I cannot drink and ask them to be my bodyguard.
- Text with a sober friend or recovery buddy throughout the evening.
Remember, each day of your sobriety should be celebrated, and that includes the holidays. I feel such a sense of accomplishment by staying sober during this time. Most of all, remember to take each day as it comes and enjoy where you are right now.
If someone you love is struggling with alcoholism or addiction and you need help, or just have questions, please call Lighthouse Treatment Center today. We are happy to provide a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced treatment advisors. Help is available now.