It can be challenging to stay sober during the holidays. The period surrounding Christmas and New Year poses the highest risk for relapsing into alcohol or drug use. Having said that, early preparation can help prevent relapse and lay the groundwork for a stable foundation, not only for this holiday season but for all future celebrations.
While the Christmas holidays are synonymous with festivities, things can be especially challenging for those in recovery. Emotions run high, relationships are tested, and everyday activities take on greater significance. Alcohol and drugs often play a central role in these celebrations, leading many to exceed their usual limits. Those in the early stages of recovery should remain vigilant, recognizing the vulnerability of such situations and considering safer alternatives to environments where substances are readily available if they want to enjoy sober holidays this year.
Whether you are potentially spending Christmas in rehab or you are looking forward to your first sober Christmas, this guide will give you plenty of actionable tips.
7 Steps to Making Sure You Have a Dry Christmas
Maintaining sobriety during the holiday season – especially Christmas – can be demanding, but it is achievable with the right approach. Here are seven steps to help you have a sober merry Christmas:
- Set clear boundaries: Establish personal boundaries and communicate them to your loved ones. Let them know your commitment to spending Christmas sober and ask for their support in avoiding alcohol or drugs during holiday gatherings.
- Plan ahead: Create a detailed plan for the holiday season in general and sober Christmas in particular. Schedule activities, outings, and events that do not involve substances. Having a structured plan can help reduce the temptation to use drugs or alcohol.
- Choose your events wisely: Be selective about the events and gatherings that you attend. Choose a sober Christmas party that has supportive, understanding hosts rather than subjecting yourself to an environment laden with triggers or addictive substances.
- Bring your support system: Invite a friend or family member who supports your sobriety to accompany you to events. Having someone by your side can provide strength and accountability.
- Practice saying no: Prepare polite but firm rejections for any invitations to use addictive substances. Practice saying “No” in a respectful manner to avoid feeling pressured or uncomfortable. Do not feel compelled to elaborate on your sober December, either.
- Create non-alcoholic options: If you are hosting a gathering, ensure that you provide plenty of appealing non-alcoholic drinks for guests. This can reduce the focus on alcohol at the event and help those in recovery.
- Attend sober support meetings: Continue attending your support group meetings, whether it’s AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), NA (Narcotics Anonymous), or a secular support group like SMART Recovery. These meetings can provide invaluable encouragement and reminders of your commitment to sobriety
Remember that your well-being and sobriety come first. Prioritize self-care, stay connected with your support network, and remind yourself of the progress that you’ve made in your recovery journey. By following these steps and staying focused on your goals, you can have a joyful and sober Christmas celebration.
Recovery During the Holidays
Navigating the holiday season while in recovery presents unique challenges and opportunities. Take time to reflect on your recovery journey and acknowledge your progress. Remind yourself of the reasons underpinning your sobriety and the positive changes it has brought to your life.
Prioritize self-care to manage stress and maintain emotional well-being. Engage in activities that promote relaxation and mindfulness – meditation, exercise, or journaling, for instance.
Openly communicate your needs and boundaries with family and friends. Let them know how they can support your recovery during the holidays, whether it’s by avoiding alcohol at gatherings or offering encouragement. Consider establishing new holiday traditions that do not revolve around alcohol or drugs. Explore festive activities like decorating, baking, volunteering, or attending sober events.
Be cautious about attending gatherings or events where substance use is prevalent. It’s okay to decline invitations to such environments if they jeopardize your sobriety.
Identify healthy coping strategies to manage triggers and cravings. These may include deep breathing exercises, reaching out to a sponsor or support group, or engaging in creative outlets.
Stay connected with your support network, through regular meetings, calls with your sponsor, or connecting with sober friends. Reach out for support if you feel vulnerable. Seek out and participate in sober holiday celebrations and events. Surrounding yourself with others in recovery can provide a supportive and uplifting atmosphere.
Embrace the spirit of gratitude during the holidays. Count your blessings and recognize the positive changes that have come from your recovery. Shift your focus from receiving to giving. Volunteering or helping others in need can bring immense joy and a sense of purpose during the holidays.
Prepare an emergency plan in case you encounter unexpected triggers or cravings. Know who to call and where to seek help if you find yourself in a challenging situation.
Remember that recovery is a continuous journey, and it’s possible to enjoy a fulfilling and sober holiday season. By proactively addressing potential challenges and embracing the support of your loved ones and recovery community, you can celebrate the holidays with confidence, resilience, and a deep commitment to your well-being.
How to Get Help for Staying Sober During Christmas
Seeking help and support is a key component of maintaining sobriety during the holiday season. Here are some actionable ways to get assistance:
Reach out to your support network
Connect with your support system – your sponsor, therapist, or recovery support groups. They can provide guidance, encouragement, and coping strategies tailored to the challenges of the holiday season.
Attend sober support meetings
Prioritize attending your regular support group meetings and consider increasing your participation if needed. Many groups offer additional meetings and resources during the holidays.
Have a sober buddy
Partner with a sober friend who can offer accountability and companionship during holiday events. Lean on each other for strength and share your commitment to sobriety.
Utilize telehealth services
Take advantage of telehealth services for virtual therapy or counseling sessions, especially if in-person options are limited or you prefer the convenience of remote support.
Explore online communities
Engage with online recovery communities and forums. These platforms provide a space to share experiences, seek advice, and find connection with others facing similar challenges.
Consider professional help
If you find the holiday season unmanageable, consider seeking professional help from addiction counselors or therapists who specialize in addiction and mental health.
Keep a list of emergency contacts readily available, including your sponsor, support group members, and crisis hotlines. Having these contacts at hand can provide immediate assistance if you feel at risk of relapse.
Create an emergency plan
Develop a detailed relapse prevention plan with your therapist or counselor. This plan should include steps to take when you encounter triggers or cravings during Christmas events.
Educate yourself about local support services and resources available during the holidays. Some areas offer sober holiday events and helplines specifically for this time of year.
Be open about your needs
Communicate openly with your loved ones about your sobriety goals and any concerns you may have during Christmas gatherings. They can offer understanding and support.
Focus on self-care practices that promote your well-being, including physical exercise, meditation, journaling, and healthy nutrition. These habits can help you manage stress and maintain sobriety.
Remember that seeking help and reaching out for support is a sign of strength, not weakness. Staying sober during Christmas may require additional effort and resources, but with the right support network and strategies, you can celebrate the season while safeguarding your recovery. We can help you achieve this at California Detox in Laguna Beach, CA.
Get Help for Drug & Alcohol Addiction at California Detox
While drug and alcohol addictions are chronic conditions, they also respond positively to evidence-based treatment. We can help you recalibrate your life and embrace sober living at California Detox in Laguna Beach.
Those who have developed physical dependence on drugs or alcohol can access medications, clinical care, and emotional care with our supervised medical detox program. After a week or so, you will be ready to transition into ongoing treatment.
Our 30-day inpatient program offers a highly structured and supportive pathway to addressing the psychological component of drug or alcohol addiction. All treatment programs at California Detox blend the following therapies for a personalized sober living blueprint:
- Psychotherapy (CBT and DBT)
- MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Individual counseling
- Holistic therapy
- Aftercare support
Addiction is a progressive condition, so the sooner you engage with treatment, the smoother your recovery will be. For supervised medical detoxification and ongoing treatment in Southern California, call 949.694.8305 today.