Whether you’re newly sober or have been sober long enough to be sponsoring others, everyone in recovery knows that the key to not drinking during stressful times is support. It’s never more true than during the holiday season, the six-week stretch between Thanksgiving and New Years. This part of the year can be a perfect storm of social occasions where alcohol is present and family gatherings, which can stir old feelings of anger or hurt, making relapse more likely.
At Baystate Recovery Center, we emphasize the importance of support throughout your sobriety journey, and even more so when it’s the holiday season. If you don’t have a group or a sponsor, we can help you with recovery coaching or family support service so your loved ones understand how to help support you.
Being prepared for temptation and stress can be one of your best defenses against a relapse. But how do you put that into action? Here are several tips to help.
- Keep active. If you have holiday party FOMO, make other plans for that evening. Spend time outside, too – the extra sunlight and activity can naturally boost your mood, plus alleviate the boredom that can lead to using.
- Ask your host if you can bring your own non-alcoholic beverage and splurge on something nice, like craft soda or expensive sparkling cider.
- Know your triggers. Remember the acronym HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, or tired) and try to resolve one of those first.
- Be sure to eat. Alcohol cravings can happen when your blood sugar is low. The good news is that the holidays are also a time for plenty of delicious treats, so give yourself permission to indulge in those!
- Manage your stress. You know that this time of year can be stressful, and many people turn to alcohol to manage anxiety. Just remember that you can walk away from a stressful situation. Don’t forget to make time for regular exercise, too – move your muscles to change your thoughts.
- Have sober support. Bring someone with you to events that isn’t going to drink, either, or seek out family members that don’t drink. Your “support date” can also help steer conversations away from unpleasant topics, including questions about why you aren’t enjoying a glass of champagne or the spiked punch. Or, drive separately to holiday events so that you can leave if you feel uncomfortable or triggered.
One of the best ways that you can protect your sobriety is to create a relapse prevention plan. Baystate Recovery Center offers recovery coaching with addiction counselors trained to get you sober and keep you sober. Rehearse responses you can make to pointed questions or how you could manage awkward scenarios. Don’t be afraid to seek help at this time, either. The larger your support system, the bigger the safety net you have if you fall.
We Can Help
If you’re struggling with staying sober during the holidays or any other time, we can help. The compassionate treatment team at Baystate Recovery Center can help you stop drinking or using drugs and enjoy your life of sobriety. We offer intensive outpatient treatment and partial hospitalization services in a safe, compassionate environment. Relapse prevention is possible with comprehensive treatment and a solid plan of support in place. Call us today for a free, personal consultation and explore your treatment and support options.