Staying sober during the holidays is not an easy feat. The holidays are a time full of joy and indulgence for some, while a time of stress and pain for others. For those battling substance abuse, both of these positions are dangerous. This year the stakes are even higher this holiday season, as this pandemic has antagonized mental health, physical health, and addiction related issues. Between COVID-19, family drama, relationship issues, and temptation being all around, the holidays are a tough time for those facing addiction.

Here are some tips on how to maintain sobriety through your holiday seasons:

  1. Know Your Triggers.
    • This is one of the most important steps in reaching sobriety in general, but especially during the holiday season where triggers are even more commonly surfaced. Self-exploring in order to discover triggers and gain self-awareness can be a huge step when trying to keep sober during the holidays.
  2. Plan Ahead.
    • If you are heading to an event or gathering where you know alcohol, drugs, or even intoxicated people will be, then it is important to plan ahead. Sometimes planning ahead means having tough conversations, working extra hard on self-care, or even avoiding certain people and/or events altogether
  3. Find Accountability.
    • The buddy system is taught to us at a young age for a reason – it works! Find an accountability partner and ask if they can come with you to your event. If this isn’t a reasonable accommodation, then set up a phone call or text schedule to check in with your accountability partner.
  4. Find a Replacement.
    • The holidays often have lots of different alcohol and/or drugs readily available at parties or gatherings, even if within CDC guidelines! This is why it can be helpful to create a “go-to” drink or food of choice that is sober-safe. This can help in creating a healthy distraction for you, and also keep others from constantly pushing drinks on you throughout the night.
  5. Maintain Health.
    • The holidays are a difficult time to have self-control when it comes to diet and exercise but keeping up with these two things can have an extremely positive impact on your recovery journey. It might not be easy, but sticking with a health regimen can definitely help.
  6. Prioritize Sobriety.
    • Recovery is an ongoing process that cannot take the backseat to any other interests or activities. If going to your mother’s house is not going to be good for your sobriety, then don’t go. If Christmas is a trigger for your substance abuse, then do not attend any Christmas related functions. The holidays are a time for joy and peace, and sometimes missing out on holiday events in the name of pursuing sobriety is what will ultimately bring you that joy and peace.

Protecting oneself from relapse can be especially tough during the holiday season, and it is important to be aware of temptations that may be around you and your loved ones. Be aware of your triggers, look out for those around you, and always reach out to us if you need help along your sobriety journey.