How to stay sober Thanksgiving Christmas

Talking Sobriety this Holiday Season

Talking Sobriety this Holiday Season

The holiday season, with its cheerful festivities and family gatherings, is often portrayed as a time of joy and celebration. However, for individuals in recovery, it can be an incredibly challenging period. Managing sobriety during the holidays brings forth a unique set of stressors that can jeopardize the hard-earned progress of those on the path to recovery. At Centered Recovery, we understand that talking sobriety this holiday season with friends and family can be difficult. We are here to help you navigate this time of year with mindfulness and communication. Let’s dive in!

Common Holiday Stressors

Social Pressure: Holiday parties and events usually involve alcohol, making it difficult to resist the temptation, especially when friends and family might not be aware of your journey toward sobriety.

Emotional Triggers: The holidays can evoke powerful emotions, both positive and negative. Family gatherings might bring up unresolved issues, causing stress and anxiety, which can trigger the urge to use substances as a coping mechanism.

Loneliness: For those who have distanced themselves from old social circles involving substance use, feelings of isolation can intensify during the holiday season.

Expectations: There’s often pressure from family to create the perfect holiday experience, leading to heightened stress. Trying to meet unrealistic expectations can trigger cravings.

The Importance of Communication

One of the most crucial aspects of maintaining sobriety during the holidays is open communication with family and close friends. It’s essential to let them know about your journey and the challenges you might face during gatherings. A supportive network can act as a buffer against stressors, offering understanding and encouragement when you need it the most.

Discussing Triggers

Being candid about your triggers is vital. Honest conversations with your loved ones can help them comprehend your situation better. When they understand your triggers, they can assist in creating an environment that minimizes these triggers, thereby reducing the temptation to use substances.

Communicating that your sobriety is being put in danger is essential for maintaining a healthy and supportive environment. You can assertively express your concerns by saying:

  • “I appreciate your invitation and the effort you’ve put into this event. However, I need you to understand that my sobriety is a top priority for me.”
  • “In situations where alcohol is readily available, I find it challenging to resist the temptation, which jeopardizes my progress.”
  • “I hope you can support my decision to prioritize my well-being by either choosing alcohol-free activities or helping me find ways to participate without being exposed to triggers.”
  • “Your understanding and support in this matter mean a lot to me, and it significantly contributes to my ongoing recovery journey.”

By being clear, honest, and respectful, you convey the seriousness of the situation while also inviting understanding and support from your loved ones.

Navigating Cravings During the Holidays

Plan: Have an exit strategy for situations where you might feel uncomfortable. Prepare responses for declined drinks and practice assertive ways to say no.

Lean on Support: Have a friend or sponsor you can call if cravings become overwhelming. Sometimes, just talking to someone who understands can make a significant difference.

Mindfulness and Relaxation: Engage in mindfulness techniques, deep breathing, or meditation to manage stress and cravings effectively.

Engage in Sober Activities: Plan activities that don’t involve alcohol. There are numerous holiday events, like tree lighting ceremonies or charity drives! These are activities where you can participate completely without feeling the pressure to drink.

Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. Understand that recovery is a journey with ups and downs. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you find certain situations challenging.

Navigating sobriety during the holiday season is undoubtedly difficult, but it’s not impossible! With open communication, a strong support system, and coping strategies in place, you can enjoy the festivities with your sobriety intact. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and there are people around you willing to support your journey toward a healthier, happier life. Stay strong, stay connected, and remember that each sober holiday season is a significant achievement in your recovery journey. By talking sobriety this holiday season with your loved ones, you can provide your family the opportunity to support you in the best ways they can!

Written by Jennifer Lopes, BS Psy