How To Avoid Alcohol During The Holidays
11/06/18: Addiction \ Alcohol Addiction
Now that the holiday season is here, holiday parties are bound to happen sooner or later. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are meant for celebrating and that typically means people are bound to drink on these holidays. These seasons can be tough for a person in recovery to stay sober since they are surrounded by alcohol at these parties.
Though people around may be drinking, that doesn’t mean you need to. If you are wondering how to stay sober during the holidays, you are not alone. It is important that you fight against your cravings and know how to say ‘no’.
Facing the Holidays While in Recovery
This time of year can be tough for some in recovery to say no to a drink; avoiding relapse is extremely difficult. However, it is no surprise that some individuals do end up turning back to alcohol, especially when considering how stressful seasons like these can be.
During recovery, you are surrounded by people who understand what you are going through and sympathize with your choice to be sober. When you are getting back around family and friends at these parties, some may not understand or even support your decision to be sober. This can lead to feelings of loneliness and possibly even cause relapse to find comfort.
These holiday gatherings aren’t exclusive to friends/family either, they can even be at work or other social events. Most of these holiday parties serve alcohol to add to the celebrating. When you are put in this sort of environment while you’re in recovery, you may get a sense of belonging if you had a drink or two. But this decision will ultimately cause nothing but harm in the end.
In this blog post, we are going to discuss some ways in which you can avoid these stressful situations, how to fight cravings, and how to ultimately live your holidays out substance free!
1. Escape the Situation
A lot of times, these parties may hand out alcohol to people without asking them if they want a drink or not. Typically, they may do this for a speech or any moment they may want to “cheers”. In ordeals like these, it’s smart to come up with some sort of escape plan to get out of the situation. It can be difficult to be upfront about your struggles with substance abuse, so it is best to just escape the situation to avoid any uncomfortable conversations.
Many recovering alcoholics will drive themselves to parties/social events so they have a great reason to not drink. Another way to escape drinking situations is to bring along someone who understands what you are going through and will support you in your decision to not drink.
2. Bring Your Own Drink/Alternatives
Another way to avoid alcohol is just simply have something else to drink! Bring your own drink or grab something that isn’t alcohol at the party. For a traditional toast, people want everyone to have a drink in their hand, they really don’t care what’s in it. You will be able to participate in the family toast without creating an awkward situation for yourself or feeling left out. Since the superstition says your glass needs to be filled, toast with some other liquid in your cup and you will be okay.
3. Prepared Responses
Want to know the easiest way to avoid alcohol? Just say no! When offered any alcohol at social events, politely decline the offer, no need to explain. Most people will simply move on after you decline the offer, but some may ask why you won’t have a drink. This is when prepared responses can come in handy. Answering that question can be stressful sometimes, so have your responses ahead of time. Here are a few you can typically use in these situations:
- No, thank you, I won’t be drinking tonight.
- No, thank you, I am actually on a diet that abstains from alcohol.
- No, thank you, I am taking medication that can’t be mixed with alcohol.
- Thank you, but I am the designated driver tonight so I can’t. Best I stay sober.
- Thank you, but I don’t drink.
These responses will let the person know you really don’t want to drink and they shouldn’t put up a fuss about it. It is quite easy to refuse a drink at these events!
4. Avoid Certain People/Situations
The holidays are all about bringing people closer together, but sometimes this can be bad for someone in recovery. Certain people or situations can bring out a side of someone in recovery they might not want to bring back. If you are a recovering alcoholic, it’s best that you avoid these people/situations as much as possible.
The most common issue someone in recovery encounters with these situations is peer pressure & stress. If you know that certain people or things could lead you to a potential relapse, there’s nothing wrong with simply not attending. Family/friends that encourage heavy drinking, people that ask questions that stress you out, or people you’ve had a bad relationship with in the past are all individuals you should avoid.
Remember, you do not need to go to every holiday event. Just like you can say no to alcohol, you can say no to an event. If you aren’t going to have fun and you see there are factors that may cause a potential relapse, there’s no point in attending.
If you don’t want to attend events like these, but still want to have fun, find some other people that would want to do an activity outside of the parties. There are bound to be some family/friends that will want to some activity with you during the holidays.
5. Learn to Forgive Yourself
Drinking is highly addictive and it’s not an easy habit to beat. During recovery, you may have a slip-up, but just remember that it’s okay. Many people who slip-up or have a relapse will accept defeat and drink themselves into a stupor. It’s important to realize that nobody is perfect and we all fall short sometimes. Being hard on yourself is in no way beneficial for your recovery. It’s best to acknowledge the fact that you slipped up and then use that as a way to get back on the path of recovery.
You heavily relied on alcohol to cope with life and that can’t be an easy thing to get rid of. Now, this doesn’t mean you should drink, but rather it means you need to forgive yourself if you do slip-up. Learn to begin again and fully continue on the path of sobriety.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are all holidays that typically have environments with alcohol in abundance. Remind yourself that you can enjoy these holidays without having a drink, just like you can enjoy life without a drink in hand. Happy Holidays everyone, enjoy your Thanksgiving and all other holidays to come! Stay sober!
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