Tips for Enjoying the Holiday Season Sober

The holiday season can be a trigger for several former addicts…

Rather it is the stress of it all, the emotions of being surrounded by family again, or maybe the fact that everyone around you is drinking. Regardless, it can be a time where most former addicts find it hard to enjoy themselves.

As someone on the outside looking in, keep in mind:

Family gatherings can be daunting for someone who has battled addiction. After letting your family down and maybe not seeing some of them for an extended period of time, it can be hard to be reintroduced to their company.

In addition to the family gatherings being overwhelming, parties, where alcohol is introduced, can be tempting. Although they might have said they were okay with everyone drinking, an addict will simply never escape the urge to drink. It is something that will haunt them forever.

Also, keep in mind, the re-introduction of emotions that come with family and holidays can be stressful. They might find that running around from house to house, seeing tons of people, and being asked questions can be stressful which can also lead an addict to want to drink or use again.

Just be mindful of how they might be feeling in all situations.

Now, from the standpoint of an addict, here are some tips to help you learn how to enjoy the holiday season this year:

  1. Be careful about the events you attend. While it is great to attend as many events as you want and get involved with those around your regularly, or maybe even just for the first time in awhile, it can also present an atmosphere that is not conducive for sobriety – such as a cocktail party.

    If the party is centered around alcohol or will have alcohol and you do not feel comfortable or confident in your ability to avoid it, it might be best that you sit that party out.

  2. Have a backup plan.Success always starts with a backup plan. You might show up at a party and find you are stressed and emotional or you might show up and find they have alcohol you were unaware of.

    Regardless of the situation, have a backup plan in mind so that you are prepared for success, not a failure.

  3. Keep in touch with your recovery community.You are not the only one experiencing these emotions during the holiday season. Keep in touch with your counselor and your support groups as they can help calm your nerves and offer valuable insight and suggestions.

It boils down to being prepared for the worst and seeking help when necessary. You can do this!

You Can Have Results or You Can Have Excuses

One of the times I make the most excuses is when my alarm goes off in the morning…

I might think about how I went to bed 30 minutes later than I had planned, or I already prepped my lunch so I don’t need the extra time, or I never sleep in – the excuses can seem endless when you really don’t want to do something.

And, who better than ourselves to talk us out of doing something we don’t want to do? We know ourselves the best and know just how to talk ourselves out of doing something with just a few simple excuses.

The big, ugly monster of excuses can especially poke its head out when it comes time for addiction recovery

Well, we just aren’t feeling that strong today or we haven’t drunk in so long, what is just one?

But, our excuses are harmful. They can destroy our recovery process and leave us standing in the midst of the addiction we were trying so hard to get away from.

And, the issues is that you can’t have excuses and results. You can only have one or the other.

But, what is more important to you? Your goals or your excuses?

To help yourself stop making excuses or at least combat them:

Remind yourself why you deserve success.

What do you have waiting for you on the other side? What will be your reward for your success?

Oftentimes, if we just stop and think about what good will come from a successful recovery, we will remember why the excuses aren’t worth it.

Remind yourself that you are strong.

Sometimes, when excuses flood in, we tend to think that we are already considering failing, so what harm does it do?

But, in the midst of making excuses – you still have the opportunity to do the right thing. Just because you have considered giving up or getting off track does not mean you have yet. So, don’t give up. Don’t give in.

Remind yourself that you are strong enough to make the right decision.

Recognize your excuses.

Before you make a decision based on an excuse, recognize that it is an excuse. Try to talk to yourself, reason with yourself, and determine if it is really something standing in your way or just yourself.

Oftentimes, you will find you are just being your own worst enemy.

You can overcome the excuses. You have every chance to reason with yourself.

 

 

What Happens If I Relapse? How to Start Over

Have you ever been on a diet and one day you just caved?

Maybe you have been doing really well for a few days, or a few weeks, or maybe even a few months…

But, then, something got you – rather it was the chocolate cake, or date night at your favorite restaurant, or your best friend’s birthday party. And, it just seemed like it would be all downhill from there. The food was so incredibly good, but somehow you still felt so incredibly bad.

For a little while, you debated if you should go back to your diet or just give up and be done…

Well, you finally made the decision to go back to the healthy lifestyle because ultimately it was what you wanted, but you just aren’t sure where to start and how to get back to it now that you have fallen off the wagon.

Well, the same sort of thing happens with addiction, too. You can be doing so well, for so long, and then suddenly, something triggers a relapse. Rather it is emotions, a friend, or something totally separate.

But, once you’ve had that relapse, you decide you are ready to give it another go. So, how do you bounce back and start over?

Use this as a teaching opportunity.

So, now you know that whatever caused you to fall off the wagon this time is a trigger. Make note of that and keep it in mind for future reference so that you do not put yourself in that situation again.

Ask for help.

You need to admit you’ve made a mistake…

Let your loved ones know what happened and ask them for help getting back on track.

You also need to address the issue with your counselor. It might be that you require some additional check-ins for a little while or even just some more stern coaching. But, don’t hide the fact that you made a mistake from anyone.

Look on the bright side.

Following a relapse, the emotions will hit hard – you will feel guilt and sadness, along with a wide range of emotions. But, rather than letting those get to you, try to look on the bright side…

Yes, you might have had a relapse but now you were strong enough to realize that, learn from your mistakes, and put yourself back on track to become a better you.

Don’t be defined by your failures.

Sober Is Not Boring

While you are participating in the drugs or alcohol that you have been addicted to for months or even years, you might find that you enjoy partying or hanging out with a certain crowd, doing risky things, and other activities of that nature…

This often leaves those wanting to recover from addiction assuming that a sober life will also be a boring life. However, that is far from the truth.

When we are sober, we have normal awareness and our emotions are stable – and, this leaves plenty of room for fun!

Having fun can also be on the most beneficial things you can do in regard to addiction recovery as it helps keep you busy with positive things, which leaves less time for you to be tempted to participate in the negative things.

And, through these fun and positive activities, you will actually learn the true meaning of fun – one that you have never experienced during an addicted lifestyle.

A few fun and sober activities you might check out include:

  1. Regular exerciseThis can be anything from going on a walk around the neighborhood to jogging around the track at your local park to going to the nearest hiking trail and going for a hike.

    It is all about getting your body moving!

    Exercise will help encourage a healthier lifestyle while also fostering a healthy mind and positive activities.

  2. Arts and craftsEven if you have never considered yourself to be the artistic type, why not try it out?

    Maybe sign up for a painting class with a friend just to see what you think about it. Arts are a great way to express yourself in a safe and positive environment and way.

  3. Horseback ridingAnimals have long been known as a great way to help people understand and control their emotions.

    Something like horseback riding will give you a constant, positive activity and one that will help you make a connection with something that is positive – the horse. It gives you an outlet where you can just be outside and relax.

  4. Group activities such as organized sportsThere are several organized group activities – from sports to volunteer work. Regardless of which you choose, the point is that a group activity can help you make new friends and follow the positive lead of other people.

    It can also help keep you accountable as groups often meet at specified times each week, meaning you need to be sober at that time each week.

Just find what works for you! It will be even more fun sober.

What If: Imagine Yourself Sober

Do you ever find yourself asking “What if?”?

What if you had taken that job?

What if you had been home that day?

What if you skipped dinner last night?

The bottom line is that life is full of what if’s. So, have you ever found yourself wondering “What if I had never become an addict in the first place?”

Once we take on a persona in life, it can be hard to picture ourselves any other way. For example, once we become a parent, it can be hard to picture what our lives were like before having kids – often this is in a good way, but still.

Well, when it comes to the road to healing from your drug or alcohol addiction, it can be hard to imagine what life would be like if you no longer had your addiction…

But, this imaginative state of sobriety can be just the thing you need to push you over that hump to sobriety.

You see, it can be hard to find the determination for something when your body so desperately wants it; when it has become such a normal and active part of your life.

But, there are several benefits to developing a strong mental image of yourself sober.

Start by making a list of all the things that you know are a negative result of your addiction…

It could be that you cannot hold a steady job, or that your child won’t speak to you, or that you aren’t allowed to babysit your grandchild. Whatever the items may be – make a list of things you can’t do or things that are hindered by your addiction.

Next, make a list of things you could replace your addiction with. For example, instead of coming right inside and having a drink after work you could go for a walk around the block with your pet. Or, while hanging out with friends, rather than drinking and being the one who ends up sick in the bathroom, you could drink a soda and just enjoy their company.

It is all about developing a positive image of yourself. Then, once you have created this person you would like to be, you will find yourself feeling more driven to achieve that persona.

Now that you realize what life could be like without your addiction, you don’t want to let that life get away from you so easily.