or their home town, this time of year can present a unique challenge.
Many traditional activities involve alcohol and parties with old friends you haven’t seen in a while. They might create potential triggers, cravings, or temptations to use. You are not alone in this challenge, and these tips have helped our clients from Dedicato Treatment Center turn this time of the year into one of even greater healing and deeper connections with family and friends.
Preparing for a Successful Sober Holiday
These strategies can help you prepare for obstacles and respond to challenges or triggers you might encounter:
- Choose holiday events where your needs can be met. Avoid those slippery slopes or stopping by old haunts where you know alcohol or drugs will be present. Visit family or community events where your goal to stay sober will be supported and respected.
- Don’t travel alone. Ask a sober friend to come with you or to be “on” call should you need to talk to someone supportive about the pressure to use or relapse triggers you experience.
- Bring your own beverages. It is easier to stay sober during the holidays when you bring along your preferred non-alcoholic beverage. Juice, sparkling water, iced tea, or soda can look equally festive in your hand and help stop offers of alcoholic drinks.
- Have a response plan. Prepare several things you can say when someone offers you alcohol or drugs at a social event. Some discreet examples are “No thanks, I’m driving tonight,” “I have an early morning commitment,” or “I’m on a medication that doesn’t mix with alcohol.”
- Share your sobriety goals. With those you trust, you may want to be more open about your decision not to use drugs or alcohol. You may be surprised at the support and acceptance that others feel for people in recovery.
- Plan an escape route. Despite perfect planning, things sometimes start heading in a direction that puts your sobriety at risk. Always have a way to leave if situations become too challenging, including cab fare or your own way home.
- Lean on your treatment programs. Know where the nearest meeting or treatment facilities are, and take shelter in these safe places whenever you feel the need. If you have a co-occurring mental health disorder, stay in touch with your therapist.
- Stick with your routine. Eat well, get plenty of sleep, and exercise as normal during the holiday season. Staying sober is just part of taking the best care of yourself, and keeping to a routine helps keep your recovery on track.
- Create new holiday traditions. This is a perfect time to build new traditions that do not center on substance use. Skating, sledding, caroling, and touring light displays are best enjoyed with friends and family, and hot chocolate or apple cider can be the nightcap.
- Celebrate your recovery. Take time when you feel stressed to meditate on gratitude and how much you have accomplished already. Experience joy and work through sorrow with the greater self-awareness you have learned in recovery.
Each Year Brings New Gifts for Those in Recovery
Drug addiction or alcoholism can rob you and your family of the precious memories and strong bonds that holiday celebrations should build. When you commit to addiction treatment and free yourself from the grip of dependency, you have the opportunity to change how you celebrate and rediscover the true spirit of the holiday season.
Each year as you grow in confidence and commitment to sobriety, these challenges will be easier to overcome. If you are ready for drug or alcohol rehab in Los Angeles or the surrounding area, the Dedicato Treatment Center offers intensive outpatient and residential treatment programs that support your full healing and recovery. Contact us today to join the thousands of people who celebrate without substance use.