Even if you do not anticipate a problem during the holidays, it is important to recognize the high frequency of relapse during this time—and have a plan to recognize negative triggers and avoid potentially risky situations.
5 Tips to Help You Survive the Holidays & Stay Sober:
1. Rehearse Answering Awkward Questions
Especially if this is your first holiday gathering sober, you might need to be prepared to answer uncomfortable questions. Some questions might be innocent inquiries from loved ones who truly care, and other questions might seem more like an inquisition. Practice answering questions with your counselor, therapist, friend, or your recovery support network. Don’t be afraid to decline to answer questions too.
2. Ask for Extra Support
Don’t be ashamed to ask for extra help or support during the holidays. Asking for help is one of the hardest things for an addict to do, but letting go of that fear could prevent you from relapsing and save your life.
3. Make Plans Not to Be Alone
If you are going to be alone during the holidays, make plans to do something. Reach out to friends or family and let them know you would like to get together. Alternatives include being in public places with others at holiday events, the mall, or even the movies.
4. Have an Escape Plan
Sure, that might sound drastic, but if you are attending a holiday party or an event, make sure you can leave at any time. If the situation becomes uncomfortable for you, be sure to have your own vehicle or a plan for public transportation to leave if you don’t want to stay. Don’t feel obligated to stay if you are in an uncomfortable or toxic situation that could trigger a relapse. Avoid family conflicts during the holidays to the best of your ability. These can trigger old memories and resentments that put your sobriety at risk.
5. Find an Alternative Non-Alcoholic Drink
The key is to avoid triggers of your opiate addiction. If you have a drink in your hand, others who are unaware of your situation are less likely to ask if you want a drink. You should also come up with and rehearse a standard response as to why you aren’t drinking alcoholic beverages.
If you are not wanting to share your sobriety, you can always use statements like:
— I am not drinking tonight.
— I am on medication and cannot have alcohol.
— I am the designated driver tonight.
It is not only possible to enter the new year still sober but to also have a good time while doing it. Attending holiday parties will require a little planning on your part, but you can do this. Your opiate addiction does not own you.
Make your recovery top priority above anything else and avoid any possible triggers. Take care of yourself, do not let the normal things you do every day to keep you sober fall to the wayside. People will notice the change in you and may be interested in how you got so far. Share your story with those who are willing to listen and maybe, just maybe, you’ll help change someone else’s life as well.
Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis
Bachelors in Elementary Education
Crystal Hampton is a 37-year-old avid writer from South Florida. She loves snuggling with her teacup Yorkie Gator and boyfriend Adam. She works for a digital marketing company that advocates spreading awareness on the disease of addiction. Her passion in life is to help others by sharing her experience, strength, and hope.
If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid addiction in the Chicago area, BRIGHTSIDE Clinic is ready to help with the recovery process every step of the way. If you or someone you love is in need of drug addiction treatment near Elgin, St. Charles or Des Plaines, Illinois, speak with a member of the Brightside Clinic team about your options.