If there is one time of year that is an extreme temptation for people in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, it’s the winter holiday season. Support your own sobriety by mentally and logistically preparing yourself for the months ahead with these tips to just say no to holiday temptations.
Sometimes the best decision you can make for yourself is to avoid putting your mind and body in harm’s way. An innocuous holiday party may not seem like a big problem, but there will be temptations there. Give your regrets and make other plans for that night, even if it’s a shindig you have never missed before, or even a family gathering. You’re allowed to opt out to protect yourself and your sobriety.
Practice Saying No
If you are heading out to a festive celebration, visualize yourself in the setting and with the people who will be there, even if they’re nameless faces right now. Practice saying no to any alcohol or drugs that are offered—you can do it in your mirror or just close your eyes and imagine the situation. Try different wording until you settle on the phrasing that makes you feel comfortable and in control of the situation.
Drink Plenty of Non-Alcoholic Liquids
Sometimes, we fill ourselves with drinks because we’re feeling empty. Fill yourself before you go to a party with a lot of water or carbonated sodas. You can even walk in with the non-alcoholic drink you plan to nurse all night. Make your decisions about beverages before you even arrive anywhere and stick to the promise you made to yourself to avoid the bar and alcoholic indulgences.
Don’t Let Yourself Get Lonely
There are people who think they’ll do better if they’re alone and not tempted by the people around them, so they attempt to get through the winter holidays on their own only to have this plan backfire spectacularly. Loneliness is a real affliction, and it’s one of the worst feelings someone practicing sobriety can experience. Fill your life with people and experiences that give you joy and happiness so you do not find yourself lonely.
Set a Budget
Financial pressure can be difficult for people in recovery, especially if you have taken a leave of absence from your job, are presently unemployed, or are making less than you used to. At the holidays, many people go overboard when it comes to gift-giving or making a statement with your generosity. If you know you’ll be tempted to spend more than you have, and if you know those kinds of financial choices will stress you out, set a budget for yourself and stick to it. The people who love you want you to be healthy and sober—they don’t care how large their gift is, or if they get one at all.
Bring a Friend
If you feel you must be at a holiday party or gathering, bring a sober friend who understands what you’re going through and can help deflect people who encourage you to drink or use. This buffer helps avoid unnecessary attention on your abstinence and allows you to lean on each other as sober buddies throughout the get-together.
Be the Designated Driver
If you are feeling confident in your sobriety and have been living a sober life for some time, but you still have concerns about party temptations, volunteer to be the designated driver. You—and others—will be invested in your sobriety and you will have an ideal excuse to stay away from any drinks or substances that have taken you down in the past.
Know Your People
Therapists and support groups take breaks too, especially at holiday time. Make sure you know who is available and who you can call on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve or any other notable day of the winter holidays. You don’t want to try to get in touch with your support system and discover in a low moment that they aren’t available for you. Always have a back-up and another back-up.
Give Yourself Permission to Leave
When you arrive at a party, you’ll feel the vibes… be honest with yourself about how they make you feel. Is it an open, understanding room? Or is it full of people who are already wasted and ready to make sure you get that way too? If you’re uncomfortable in any way, just turn around and go home or to a meeting. Protect yourself from your own temptations and don’t apologize for it.
Learn more about Beachside Rehab in West Palm Beach, Florida, a respected facility that offers inpatient and outpatient detox, rehab, and holistic recovery. Call today at 866-349-1770 to speak with a trained admissions counselor.