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7 Tips to Staying Sober During the Holidays

Enjoying Holidays Sober

The holiday season can be a happy time, but it can also be a source of stress and isolation. Many holiday traditions involve the use of alcohol. This can be a struggle for people who are in recovery. Holidays can also bring up memories of loved ones who have passed away. However, there are ways to cope with these challenges and enjoy the holidays without compromising your sobriety.

Here are 7 Tips to Remain Sober During the Holidays:

(1) Plan ahead. Before attending any holiday gatherings, determine in advance how to deal with potential triggers, such as politely declining offers of alcohol or drugs, bringing your own non-alcoholic beverages or having an exit plan if things get uncomfortable. You can also attend a support group meeting or call or visit a sober friend for encouragement. You don’t have to attend every party you are invited to. Focus on the ones where you know you will have a positive experience surrounded by positive people.

(2) Take Care of Your Physical and Mental Health. Exercising during the holiday season can be a great way to boost your endorphins and your mood. So can being outside. Exercising and spending time outdoors can help with both your physical and mental health. You can also practice gratitude, meditation or other coping skills that help you stay calm and positive.

(3) Remember H.A.L.T. (Hungry| Angry | Lonely | Tired) If you are hungry, eat. Try to aim for a healthy meal that will make you feel good about your choices. Sugary treats can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes that can negatively affect your mood. If you are angry, talk with someone you trust or write your feelings in a journal. If you are lonely, attend a support group or see or call a trusted friend. If you are tired, get plenty of sleep or nap, if needed.

(4) Focus on Your Recovery. What were your reasons for getting sober? Think about those and how much you have accomplished. In addition to your reasons for sobriety, there are many benefits to a sober lifestyle, including improved health, mood and self-esteem.

(5) Start new traditions. The holidays are a time to celebrate and have fun, and you can do that without alcohol or drugs. You can create new holiday traditions that are meaningful and enjoyable for you, such as volunteering, baking, decorating, watching movies or playing games. You could build a snowman or go ice skating or have s’mores by the fire. You can also explore new hobbies or interests that enrich your life and keep you busy.

(6) Seek support. You don’t have to go through the holidays alone. Reach out to your friends, family and community members who are supportive of your recovery. You can also find sober activities and events that are organized by recovery groups or organizations in your area. If you feel lonely or depressed, don’t hesitate to ask for help from a professional or a helpline.

(7) Give Back. This year and every year people are in need during the holidays. There are many ways to give back during the holidays that only cost your time. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen or a hospital. Deliver meals to those in need. There are many ways to volunteer, and volunteer organizations are always looking for extra help.

If you or someone you know is suffering from opioid use disorder this holiday season, please call 800-805-6989 to contact our 24/7 Patient Access Center, with virtual visits and bridge scripts. Do you have feelings of relapse? Call us 24/7 and you can speak with a peer support specialist. These are individuals in recovery who can help counsel you on strategies to approach the holidays.

Have a wonderful holiday season that is merry and bright!