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Sobriety and the Holidays

The holidays can be a very difficult time for people who are newly sober, but then again it can also be difficult for people who have long-term sobriety as well.  Remind yourself every day just how good it feels to be clean and sober.

Traveling

If you are flying over the holidays being at the airport can be a huge trigger.  Make sure that you plan ahead:  Take a good book or some self-help and recovery books to read, take you phone, download some inspirational talks.

Stay away from the bars and if you need to, use the internal phone at the airport and ask for any friends of Bill W. to meet with you and chat for a while.

If you are away from home, check out some different self-help meeting in the area and meet some new people.

Relatives

During the holiday getting together with family can often involve a lot of sitting around and drinking, so coming up with some alternative activities that you and others may enjoy.  For example:  You could go to the movies, go ice-skating, go to a museum, a sporting event, make cookies, play board games, go for a walk or go to a self-help meeting.  Limit your time with relatives that make you crazy.

Take you own non-alcoholic beverage and remember that alcohol can also be present in different types of foods as well.

Parties

The holiday season is known for its parties and this can be a very vulnerable time for anyone in recovery.  If you are concerned that you may be triggered to drink or use then it is always a good idea to bring a buddy in recovery or a hired sober companion for support. 

Let people know that you are not drinking and don’t feel badly about it.  There is a lot less stigma these days about being in recovery, because just about everyone knows someone who has suffered with addiction.

Keep your car keys or taxi fare available, so that if you feel uncomfortable you can always leave.  Always serve your own drinks so that there can never be a mix up.

The day after a party you may fall into self-pity and resentments because you felt deprived for not drinking or using.  So if these feelings come along call a friend in recovery or reach out and call someone who is supportive of your feelings and concerns. 

Craving and Triggers

If the thought of a drink or drug occurs, think it through and try and remember how badly things got when you were drinking and using before.  Cravings and triggers get less and less over time, but they can crop up at unexpected times, if they do try these alternatives:

  1. Go to a meeting
  2. Call a sober friend
  3. Distract yourself, distract your thoughts
  4. Do not allow yourself to get hungry, angry, lonely or tired
  5. Get some exercise
  6. Go for a walk
  7. Go to the movies
  8. Meet a friend for coffee

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