Maintaining Sobriety During the Holidays
The holidays are a time of celebration, gratitude, warmth, togetherness, appreciation, comfort, magic and yes – indulgence. From succulent meats to savory side dishes and luscious desserts, there is always a decadent dish tempting the observer from the decorated dining table.
There are also the temptations of imbibing. The holidays brings no shortage of alcoholic beverages – red wine, egg nog, hot buttered rum, martinis and viscous, frothy stouts that adhere to your bones.
This presents a challenge to anyone watching their calories, carbs, cholesterol, and mostly – to those whose goal remains to abstain from alcohol.
Exiting your local drug and alcohol rehabilitation center during the holidays can fill a patient with added hope – and unwanted dismay. For many patients, their families are waiting for them at home with cheerful anticipation to begin the next chapter of their rehabilitation center. The last thing a patient wants to do is create a nebulous cloud of disappointment and despair.
Being recently sober does not mean you have to be alone during the holidays. You can still enjoy the spirit of the season surrounded by friends and family without succumbing.
If you are recently sober and determined to remain so, here is some encouraging advice to heed during besotted holiday evenings that tempt dormant or repressed urges to relapse:
❖ Pick and choose your parties: Holiday fetes are entertaining and filled with joyous warmth, ugly sweaters, fuzzy sock exchanges, and the inevitable Christmas cheer in a punchbowl. Be selective when accepting invitations to gatherings this season. If you know alcohol will be served, politely decline the invite and, if asked, be confident enough in your sober journey to explain your planned absence. Your friends and family – if their loyalty to your goals ring true – will be understanding, appreciative and supportive.
❖ Have a plan when you attend a party: If you make the decision to attend a gathering where alcohol is present, be stalwart and remain strong in your conviction to abstain. Carry a bottle of water, juice, sparkling water or other virgin beverage. Remember to eat. If the urge to drink is too strong to overcome, leave the party – either in your own vehicle or have a sober friend or family member on call to retrieve you. Leaving is not a weakness – succumbing to the urge is far more detrimental than excusing yourself.
❖ Communicate with your sponsor or other trusted resource: They know this season will be difficult, particularly if your family or friends enjoy drinking. Whether you are constantly surrounded by gaggles of revelers or spending the holidays by yourself, you are never alone in your commitment to remain on a path of clean living. When you feel the weight of impossible demands clawing at your resolve – be they stress from the season, difficulty re-acclimating to home life or the urge to drink, reach out. There is always someone present in your life who made a commitment to you and they want nothing more than to see you sustain and succeed in your quest for permanent sobriety.
The team at Lifeline Connections rehabilitation center Vancouver Wa and Portland Or wish you a safe, happy, healthy and blessed holiday season; we remind you that we remain committed to you. This holiday season, if you are feeling relentless pressure to maintain or to relapse, we urge you to contact us. We are your partner in sobriety, whether you are a current, former or prospective patient.