Tis’ the season to be jolly…and stressed, which can be a trigger for drinking or using a drug of choice. Check out the list below for helpful tips on how to enjoy a socially-distanced holiday season—while staying sober.
- Plan ahead: If you choose to attend a small holiday gathering, wear a mask, remain 6 feet from others when possible and wash your hands often as directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, bring along your own non-alcoholic beverages and have a strategy for when/how to exit.
- Maintain self-care: Getting adequate rest and physical activity as well as eating a healthy diet are all important actions for replenishing your inner resources—especially during the hectic holiday season.
- Create/enforce boundaries: Even if it’s via Zoom, cousin Sue’s constant complaining or uncle Adam’s know-it-all attitude can still stir up some undue stress. Determine how much time with them (if any) that you can tolerate.
- Strengthen spirituality and support: If you’re traveling for the holidays, check online ahead of time to find 12-step meetings. Keep in touch with your sponsor and sober support group. Bring along recovery-friendly reading.
- Be aware: If attending a small holiday gathering, consider sharing your sober status with the host/hostess. Watch your drink being prepared to ensure it’s a non-alcoholic beverage.
- Right-size your expectations: Acknowledge your loved ones’ limitations and shortcomings to help prevent resentment. For example, if your mom is always late, prepare yourself for this inevitable occurrence rather than expecting her to be on time.
- Be of service: When all else fails, helping another person is an antidote to self-pity and the dangerous “all-me-all-the-time” attitude. Think about volunteering or offering your services to someone in need.
- Plan activities: Organize a sober celebration like a holiday movie marathon with immediate family or a send-ahead cookie exchange (followed by a Zoom tasting party).
- Practice an attitude of gratitude: Take some time to reflect on all the goodness in your life.
- Avoid HALT (being too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired): These feelings are common culprits for relapse—and a reminder of how addiction can be cunning, baffling and powerful.
Though this holiday season’s celebrations may be different than normal due to COVID, the same common tips above apply.