There is generally a lot of fear, anxiety, and worry that comes around with the holidays, and having to spend time with families and loved ones. This part is unavoidable, and for many ruins the holiday season all together, however we can try to focus on all the positives as much as possible.
Being sober is reason enough to celebrate, and make the best of the holiday season this year. However, there are many ways in which to help keep your sobriety intact over the holidays:
1. Remind yourself every single morning how good it feels to be sober, and how grateful you will be come January, and the new year. Plant that thought in your mind right now, and think about it every morning. Stick a note on your bathroom mirror to remind yourself to think about it every day.
2. Call you sponsor, sober friends, and all sober support to check in, especially if negative emotions from the past arise, stop drop and call someone immediately for support!
3. Keep your expectations realistic, so you don’t set yourself up for an emotional letdown, as getting sober doesn’t mean life is instantly perfect. Other people in your life probably haven’t changed, and many of the conflicts that crop up at family reunions will doubtless crop up again. Accept it, roll with the punches, and rein in the urge to manipulate everything and everyone. It will be enough for you to take care of and control yourself.
4. Limit the amount of time you spend with relatives who make you crazy- if everyone is gathering for the holiday, including your brother who drinks like a fish, plan on an overlap of just a day or two.
5. If you’re traveling, go to meetings wherever you are- find a meeting long before you get there. This will give you the booster support shot you’ll almost certainly need the chance to talk about whatever else it is that almost drives us to drink.
6. It’s okay to tell people you are now in recovery- there is a lot less stigma these days to being in recovery. Nearly everyone knows someone who is in recovery. It’s your choice whether or not you want to tell people. One good reason to be open about it: If your friends don’t know you’ve given up alcohol, they may lead you into temptation without intending to. Another reason: When you let it be known that you don’t drink, you offer support and encouragement to others who are thinking about sobriety but are afraid to take the leap. You just might be the catalyst that gets someone else started on recovery.
You should feel proud, and accomplished, and like the hard work you put in to change your life for the better, more than paid off. Make sure to celebrate yourself and all the progress you have made thus far in sobriety. Not everyone or every family member is going to understand, relate, and/ or sympathize, but that’s ok and should be expected. That is why we have a sober support, and for most of us that is not our families, which we begin to understand and appreciate more and more as time goes on. The Holidays can be happy and festive, or as dark and dramatic mentally, all we can do is try not to allow them to take us down, so be sure to stay in that positive mindset!