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Getting Through The Holiday Season Sober

Holiday Season Sober

The holiday season can be quite the trigger for many people.

It is supposed to be a time of celebration and happiness, but it can also be a time that illuminates underlying feelings that a person may have been trying to ignore, hide, or bury. It is not uncommon for alcohol to play a large part in some people’s holiday festivities. Hence, the holiday season can be a particularly challenging time for individuals in recovery for substance abuse or addiction. For those in recovery, there are several ways in which an individual can help him or herself get through the holiday season, sober. Below are five tips to keep in the back of your mind to help you make sure you have a healthy and sober holiday season.

1. Go to Meetings

Do not let the fact that it is the holiday season, or a special occasion, allow you to step back from your commitment to regularly attend support group meetings (i.e. Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous…etc.). If meetings are not an integral part of your daily or weekly routine, but you are feeling tempted or in need of being surrounded by a sober community, go to one. There are meetings all over the country at all hours of the day. Do not overthink it, you have nothing to lose by going to a meeting.

2. Bring a Friend

If you are planning to attend a holiday function, bring a sober friend, especially if alcohol will be present. Having a fellow sober person as a support system while you are surrounded by people who may be intoxicated will be helpful. It will also serve as another individual to be accountable to, so you won’t be tempted by a possible open bar.

3. Have an Exit Strategy

No matter what holiday function you are attending, make sure you have an easy exit plan. Temptations and triggers can sometimes come randomly and unexpectedly. It is essential to make sure that you are able to remove yourself from a situation before you make a choice you will regret. An exit strategy can be as simple as making sure you have a family member or friend on call to come and pick you up, should you need to leave, or even just making sure you drove yourself to the event. Regardless of what you set in place as your exit strategy, make sure that if you feel that you need leave, you do not hesitate, and you give yourself permission to do so immediately.

4. Follow Your Aftercare Plan

No matter how far in the past you completed your treatment program for substance abuse or addiction, the holiday season is an excellent time to refresh yourself on the specifics of your aftercare plan. Make sure you are using the suggestions provided and are sticking to your plan. If there are some aspects that you have let fall by the wayside, figure out how to reintegrate them into your life.

5. One Step at a Time

Though the holiday season only spans about a month, for some, it can feel like forever. Remember to take it one day at a time. There is no reason to get ahead of yourself or add pressure to what can already be a stressful time. Be mindful of your choices and live in the moment. If someone wants you to commit to something that seems too far in the future, allow yourself to say no.

With all experiences in life, you have to recognize that without the difficult moments, there would be no easy moments.

Use this holiday season as a challenge for yourself to truly honor yourself and your sobriety by advocating for your needs. Give yourself the gift of focusing on your sobriety by revisiting your aftercare plan. Relish the happy moments of the season, and acknowledge the difficult ones, as they will surely pass. Give yourself a break, and make a conscious effort to not add any unnecessary pressure to your plate during the holiday season.

Further Information

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. There is no reason to go through this alone. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at:

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Call (213) 389-9964 or fill out the form below to reach Peggy Albrecht Friendly House.

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