While the holidays are supposed to be a time of love and laughter, it can be a time of anguish and regret for people who suffer from addiction. Relapse rates for drugs and alcohol increase as much as 150% during the holiday season.
If you’re grappling to find a way to escape the triggers that often come along with the festivities during the holidays, consider the following ways to avoid relapse. They may get you through the next two months with your sobriety intact.
Commit to Sobriety
It’s going to be hard to see everyone having a good time with their drinks, but you know better than anyone else that drinking is anything but a good time. You understand and have lived through the consequences of overdrinking, and you do not want to go through that again.
Head into the holiday season committed to your sobriety. Look at it as a challenge you WILL overcome. If it helps, come up with a reward you’ll give yourself when January 2nd comes, and you’ve remained sober through the holidays.
Avoid Triggering Situations
While it’s not a good idea to go into hiding during the holidays, you don’t have to go to every party. Choose the gatherings that won’t be centered entirely around drinking, and pass on the ones that will just become a whole bunch of people falling over each other in a stupor. Hanging out with drunk people when you’re sober is never fun, and joining in their drunkenness isn’t fun either because you may end up starting 2020 suffering from alcoholism again.
Host Your Own Party
Show people they don’t need to have alcohol to have a good time by hosting a dry party. You may have so much success with it that you’ll want to host additional ones during the holiday season or throughout the year.
Not sure what to do during the party? Close your eyes and think about what is fun about a party — for example, music, gift exchanges, singing carols, and eating great food.
Bring Your Own Drinks
BYOD (Bring Your Own Drinks) to parties that will look better than what everyone else is drinking, such as mocktails. These cocktails sans alcohol give you all of the taste you remember without the consequences of alcoholism.
Some ideas for mocktails are:
Fauxito - English cucumbers, mint leaves, lime juice, agave, club soda, and ice gives you a non-alcoholic mojito you’ll crave into the New Year.
Sangrita - Tomato juice, orange juice, sugar, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, olive brine, and black pepper will make your mouth water more than the original.
Morning Mai Tai - Apple cider, apple cider vinegar, ginger syrup, lemon juice, orgeat (almond-flavored syrup), ice, thinly sliced red apple slices for garnish will make you love the holidays all over again.
Reach Out for Support
If you have a sponsor through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or another organization, be sure to keep that person close through the holidays. Call before a party and afterward to keep yourself on track.
See if you can increase the number of meetings you attend in November and December to help you stay sober, too. This will help you see that others are struggling just like you, and together, you can all get through this time with your sobriety as strong as ever.
Stay Strong - Stay Sober
Now you know what to do during the holiday months, so you can start 2020 with strength because you’ve conquered an enormous challenge - staying sober during the holidays.