Across the board, most people would say that 2020 has been a rough year. And while it’s almost over, there’s one more big hurdle to clear: the holidays. This is normally a stressful time for people in recovery, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic only adds to that.
If you’re looking for ways to stay sober through the rest of 2020, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading for tips on how to stay sober during the holidays.
1. Plan Ahead to Stay Sober Through the Holidays
Among these tools to stay sober, “plan ahead” may be the most important. Whether you’re going to an office party or traveling home for the holidays, it’s important that you have steps in place to make sure you stay sober.
For example, if you’re meeting up with coworkers at a bar for a party, don’t carpool. Without your own transportation, you could be stuck in a situation where you need to leave, but your ride wants to stay and enjoy the party. This could jeopardize your sobriety, so you’ll be better off if you arrange for your own transportation.
Moreover, think about who you’re going to see at your holiday celebration. If that includes people who can trigger your impulse to drink or use drugs, plan an exit strategy if the interactions start to feel overwhelming. Family can be a difficult subject for many individuals recovering from substance use disorder, so don’t feel any shame if you need to leave early to stay sober during the holidays.
2. Monitor Your Emotions During Holiday Gatherings
If you’re not sure how to stay sober through the holidays, keeping an eye on your emotions can be a big help. When you’re at your gathering, check in with yourself frequently to see how you’re feeling. If you notice yourself feeling agitated or upset, that is likely your cue to leave. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are, and there’s no reason to let a holiday party jeopardize your recovery.
This doesn’t just mean watching out for negative emotions, though. Because of COVID-19, many people carry around tension and frustration every day without thinking about it. One of the great things about holiday celebrations is that they’re an opportunity to forget about worries and enjoy a good time, but be careful not to get too caught up in the moment, especially if you’re prone to bouts of mania.
If you start reveling a bit too much, it could lead to a relapse. While you should enjoy yourself and feel happy during a celebration, watch out for thoughts like, “One beer wouldn’t hurt,” or, “Everyone else is using, why shouldn’t I have a good time too?” The second these thoughts enter your head, it’s time to leave. Relapse rarely happens because people decide to binge; more often, they think they can handle a small taste, then lose themselves in the throes of addiction. You deserve to stay sober from drugs and alcohol, so don’t let one party ruin that for you.
3. Bring a Sober Friend to Your Holiday Celebration
Most parties will allow you to bring someone with you, so why not make that someone else who’s sober? If you’re working a 12-step program, that could be your sponsor or another member of your program. If not, that’s fine, just bring someone who knows that you’re sober and will support you in staying that way.
Once you get to the event, check in with your friend throughout the night. This way you can both be honest with what you’re feeling, and nobody has to stay if one of you is uncomfortable. It can also be nice to have someone else who isn’t drinking. A room full of intoxicated people isn’t always fun if you’re sober, so bringing someone with you can make the entire event much more enjoyable.
4. Start Your Own Sober Holiday Traditions
In many families, drinking and drug use are part of celebrating the holidays. Since that’s not an option for you, don’t be afraid to start up your own holiday traditions that emphasize how to stay sober. For example, you could host a holiday gathering for your friends in recovery where you all spend time together and enjoy some great food.
Alternatively, get into the spirit and volunteer at a holiday event being put on by a local 12-step group. The holidays are a great time to give back, and this way you’ll get to help facilitate a sober holiday for other people in recovery.
The important thing is that you set up traditions that work for you. Choosing sobriety can change your life in a lot of ways, and sometimes that includes holiday plans. It can be easy to feel nostalgic for holidays past, but try to focus instead on making new memories and living your sober life to the fullest.
5. Ask for More Support During the Holidays
While the holidays are a source of joy for many, they’re hard for a lot of people, sober or not. So don’t be afraid to reach out to friends and loved ones and tell them that you need more support. This could mean occasional check-ins throughout November and December, or any other form of communication that reminds you that people care about you and your continued sobriety.
If you’re planning on attending a holiday gathering and you can’t or don’t want to bring anyone, you can still get support. Designate a friend to be available before and after your event. This way, you can call them before to review what you’re going to do if you feel the need to drink or use drugs, and you can call them after to discuss how it went and reaffirm your commitment to sobriety. This will be a great way to keep yourself accountable while receiving some much-needed support from someone who understands.
Stay Sober Through the Holidays
These sobriety tips can help you stay sober during this time of year, but that isn’t the only planning that you should do. Keep up with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for holiday travel and follow their recommendations to protect your safety and the safety of your loved ones.
If you’re not sure how to stay sober during the holidays, start with these five tools to stay sober. It’s okay to admit that you need extra support during this time of year, especially with the stress of COVID. And if worse comes to worst, remember that you can always seek professional addiction treatment right here in Las Vegas, Nevada.
If you’d like to learn more about our substance abuse treatment options, call our admissions specialists at 888-828-2623 or ask your questions online and we’ll get back to you promptly. No matter where you are in recovery, the best time to get help is today!
Located in dynamic Las Vegas, Nevada, the Vance Johnson Recovery Center (VJRC) a 44-bed facility is run by a skilled multi-disciplinary team of medical and behavioral health professionals that includes nurses, counselors, and doctors, along with complementary and alternative medicine specialists to provide our clients with a transformational experience that encompasses mind, body, and spirit. Our approach is holistic and grounded in research and evidenced-based best practices that help people develop the awareness and skills required to achieve and sustain recovery.