Staying sober is a challenge under the most standard of circumstances, when routines are consistent and "normal." The holidays can be an even more difficult time to maintain sobriety, especially as the excitement of the holiday season, changes in routine, social gatherings, financial pressures, and stress weigh upon us. While each person will have different strategies that help him or her to best pursue a journey of lifelong sobriety, here are five tips that may support you throughout the holidays.
1. Plan for success: While it may sound simple, mindset is key for sobriety, especially during the holidays. Plan every day of the holidays to limit the likelihood that you will be put in situations that challenge your sobriety. Scheduling a few extra sessions or meetings to keep you in touch with your support system can also be helpful.
2. Identify your triggers: The holiday season can be filled with triggers that will challenge your sobriety and your success plan. Be prepared and remain vigilant for situations that may tempt you to stray from your path.
3. Create new traditions: Just because you are choosing to maintain a sober lifestyle does not mean you cannot participate in holiday traditions. Consider creating a new method for celebrating that does not include alcohol or other triggers. Start new traditions such as enjoying sparkling grape juice for toasts, writing letters to those who have touched your life this year, and playing fun games to enjoy with the family.
4. Ask for help: Remember that you are not alone. Your path of recovery is not one that you must walk on your own. Asking for help and connecting with members of your support network can be a wonderful resource during the holidays.
5. Reach out to others: Creating relationships with others who are also experiencing challenges may be a great way to take your mind off of your challenges and worries. Volunteering and reaching out to others in need can be a great outlet for this.
Click here to read the full article by Judy McGuire for Huffington Post.