Navigating Sobriety During the Holidays
If you're here, you or someone you care about is likely navigating the challenging terrain of sobriety, especially during the holiday season. I'm here to provide some insights and strategies to help you stay on track during this potentially tricky time.
The Holiday Challenge: Staying Sober Amidst the Festivities
Holidays, though joyous, can pose a significant challenge for those on the path to recovery. The festivities often involve disruptions to our regular schedules, increased social gatherings, and a general shift towards a 'vacation mode.' In a recent video on relapse prevention, I discussed the importance of keeping the gate closed to vulnerability, a crucial aspect of maintaining sobriety.
Identifying Triggers: Three Categories
1. **Vacation Mode and Substance Use Escalation:**
The most obvious trigger during the holidays is the widespread shift to vacation mode. People tend to indulge more in substances, making it a potential stumbling block for those in recovery. The pressure to conform and the fear of missing out can be overwhelming.
- *Strategy:* Approach events carefully, considering the potential triggers and cravings. Have a supportive wingman who understands your journey and can run interference. Learn from experiences like a client who successfully navigated a similar situation with a friend's help.
2. **Awkwardness in Social Situations:**
Awkwardness, especially for those newly sober, can be a significant stressor. Deciding how to communicate your choice not to drink can be challenging.
- *Strategy:* Be upfront and honest about quitting drinking. A brief, truthful explanation, such as the impact on your health, can help convey your message effectively.
3. **Holiday Stress and the Urge to Numb:**
The stress associated with the holidays, whether from busy schedules, family dynamics, or societal expectations, can create an urge to seek solace in substances.
- *Strategy:* Recognize and manage stress by setting realistic expectations. Be selective about events, use a 'get out of the event free' card when needed, and remember that you're in control of the pressure you put on yourself.
Taking Charge of Your Sobriety
As you navigate the holiday season, you must stay vigilant, communicate openly about your needs, and have a plan in place. Keeping the gate closed and understanding the triggers associated with the holidays will empower you to maintain your sobriety successfully.
If you haven't watched my video on keeping the gate closed, you can find it [here](insert video link). Remember, you're not alone in this journey, and with the right strategies, you can enjoy a fulfilling and sober holiday season.