The fact that it is difficult to stay sober during the Christmas Holiday period is not disputed by anyone who has been there. It is the notorious season of office parties, family gatherings and other social events that almost inevitably involve alcohol. And food. And more alcohol and festive cheer. Staying sober can feel like an impossible task to achieve but that feeling is all just a state of mind stemming from years of habits and routine that can be changed.
The following is a list of top tips to keep you sober and clean over the Christmas holidays:
1) Make sure you plan your time every single day. Ensure that you spend time only with those who support your recovery and never “accidentally” wind up with a group intent on celebrating the Christmas cheer down at the local pub.
2) Get support from family and friends. Close friends and family who truly support you in your recovery should have no problem banning alcohol from any festive gathering you attend. If not, don’t go.
3) Stay Busy. The importance of staying busy can not be over emphasized. Do not wind up sitting around with time on your hands dwelling on the fact that you are not drinking. Stay so busy that time just seems to fly by.
4) Create new, healthy habits. Like getting a new haircut can make you feel “different”, changing your festive routines and habits can help to define the new sober you. Try some new activity that has no associations with alcohol and make it your new Christmas tradition.
5) Keep your sponsor close. Make sure you have a list of sponsors you can rely on for those dark moments. Keep your list and your phone on you at all times and ensure that your sponsor/s are aware that you might be calling at any time.
6) Give something back. Consider volunteering at a charitable organization. Volunteering not only helps those less fortunate than yourself, but it also keeps you busy. The combination is good for the mind and soul!
7) Attend local meetings. Wherever you might be, attend local meetings in your area. If you will be in an unfamiliar city, check local papers before hand so that you are prepared.
8) Daily affirmations. Count your blessings every morning and give thanks. It really helps to write out this list and review it to remind yourself of all the good things happening in your life and how grateful you are to be sober.
9) Stay away from “old haunts”. Absolutely avoid old haunts and groups of friends or associates who are not intimately involved with your recovery. If they are not already involved in your recovery process that need to be avoided at all costs right now.
10) Physical exercise. Don’t underestimate the importance of physical exercise. Working up a good sweat and burning calories will undoubtedly have a beneficial effect on your mood and state of mind. And burning more calories over Christmas is usually a good thing too!
11) Take it one day at a time. Just like it says, take things one day at a time. Don’t confuse the forest for the trees. Just keep stepping over those tiny stones on your way to the goal.
12) Consider an alcohol rehab. If it all gets to be too much temptation or too stressful, consider checking yourself into an alcohol rehab facility. There is no shame in sitting out the season, and completing a detox or course of rehab is something you can be proud of. What better gift to yourself for the new year ahead than sobriety?
The staff at Gladstones Clinic would like to wish everyone, particularly our past and present clients a healthy, happy, prosperous and sober holiday season and New Year. We are always available to assist with support, admissions or concerns. If you or a family member require assistance for alcohol dependency feel free to call us at any time. We are here to help.