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Sober Holiday Tips

The holidays are right around the corner. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are coming up fast.  Parties, work gatherings, and family affairs are all on the horizon.  I remember and still struggle with the challenges of the holidays.  I could have used some healthy, sober holiday tips to have the support I needed.

I recall what lurks at any or all of these events.  PUSH ME! My hot buttons blink in fluorescent orange over my triggers. Any of the players present at any of these events had to know what my triggers were because I always felt triggered.  I know now that these events can be stressful no matter how much work I have done.  It seems to me that during these times everyone is a bit off their best approach, insecure about past struggles, or caught in unresolved dramas.  This all adds to the possibility of challenges to our sobriety.

I have 5 strategies that I have at the ready to help me navigate the minefields of the holidays.  These are useful as I create my way forward to stay sober and making my best choices.  My quality of life depends on it!

Check out these 5 choices that help me stay afloat during these potentially dangerous times.

1. I stay to my sober strategy before the gathering. Good self care starts with making my steps that I know keep me in balance.  Good food, good habits, and good rest all help me ensure that I show up well prepared for the potential choppy waters.

2. Get out in nature and move my body.  I always get out earlier in the day and take a long dog walk, go for a hike, run a 5k or 10k, or go out and wander as I open to the beauty of nature.  I make it a priority to connect to nature and get physical because I know, for me, this strengthens me in many ways.

3. I always take something to these gatherings that make it possible for me to enjoy myself and still stay within my personal agreements. I will take some kind of yummy food, a drink that I enjoy, or a good friend that I enjoy the company of with me to the event. Rather than feeling excluded because of my ‘sober agreements’ with myself, I know, as I participate, that I took care of myself and made choices for my highest good.

4. I keep my support list available.  I know that I am not the only one present that has challenges staying sober.  It is impossible for me to be the only one that has addictive behaviors or struggles with sobriety.  If I really get challenged to keep my sober choice, I can simply gravitate to the conversational group that includes those that I know that are supportive of me or share my challenges.  Spend time there and breathe and relax.  My other option is to reach out to my four primary sober anchors that have already agreed to be there for me if I need support to make my highest choice.  I have to remember that I have the self worth to reach out for this support.  I have this prearranged and can ask for what I need in these moments.  Call or text and ask for what I need! I have done the work to have this option available. Now it is up to me to use it!

5. I do not RSVP or attend gatherings because I ‘should’ go.  This can be tricky because I can hide a bit during these times, but I always have gatherings that I am invited to that allow me to stretch and open up to opportunities to enjoy the holiday.  I choose to attend the gatherings that I can enjoy and experience these times sober and allowing myself to create new patterns as I keep my new agreements. 

These five key elements of my sober strategy may be helpful to you as you prepare for these holidays.  Remember that our choices create our life.  We have the ability to make good sober choices.  We are not alone and we have the self worth to be supported to be our best selves.

Happy holidays!