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A Holly Jolly (And Sober) Holiday – How To Get Through The Holidays Without Turning To Drugs Or Alcohol

Friends girlsThe holiday season can be challenging when you’re in recovery. Everyone wants you to “eat, drink and be merry,” but the stresses of too much to do, not enough sleep and spending time with family and friends can pile up. Relatives may not understand or support your sobriety. Friends who you used to drink or do drugs with may be back in town. Here’s how you can enjoy this time while maintaining a sober lifestyle.

  1. Reach out to your support network. Your sponsor will realize how difficult the holidays can be, but your family and friends may not. If you plan to attend parties, family gatherings or other social get-togethers where alcohol or other substances will be present, talk to your counselor, your sponsor and anyone else you trust to help you.
  2. Make a plan. When you talk to your sponsor, counselor and other members of your support team, discuss with them which events you plan to attend and with whom. Try to have at least one supportive family member or friend attend with you. Discuss strategies for coping with temptations.
  3. Stay away from trouble spots. If you’re invited to a get-together at a bar or club where you used to indulge, turn down the invitation. Ask the people you were hoping to see if you can get together for a cup of coffee or lunch instead.
  4. Devote time to other things, especially yourself. With all of the holiday-related hustle and bustle happening, don’t neglect yourself! Go to meetings, get some exercise or do some charity work. And get enough sleep. You need healthy outlets for stress and anxiety and ways to keep your mind occupied.
  5. Know when to say enough. No matter how well you plan, you may find yourself in a situation where you’re feeling pressure to participate. Maybe you’re at a non-alcohol party and someone suggests going to a bar. This is the time to call it a night and go home. Call your sponsor or a friend if you need to, but never feel like you have to justify not going.
  6. Reward yourself. Whenever you pass up a drink or other controlled substance, or make it through a trying situation without giving in to your addiction, give yourself a treat—whether it’s a piece of candy, a hot bath, dinner out, or even an appointment for a massage or pedicure. Create pleasurable consequences for making the right decision.

With a support network, a plan of action, the right focus and the knowledge that you can be successful, it’s possible to enjoy a sober, happy and healthy holiday season. If you feel you need help, Horizon Health Services can be reached at regular business hours at (716) 831-1800. In case of emergencies you can visit our website for emergency contact information.

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Manage Stress this Holiday Season