It’s Christmastime, and for those working a program of addiction recovery, it’s a time for extra vigilance. People who are working a Program must double their recovery efforts to ensure relapse isn’t a part of one’s holiday. This weekend may be the first sober Christmas for some of our readers; as a treatment provider, we’d be remiss for failing to share some helpful advice for making it through the holiday dry.
Truthfully, it really doesn’t matter how much sobriety time you have, important holidays can wreak havoc on anyone’s program. Being around friends and family for extended periods of time can be too much for some. Not having family in one’s life can be extremely difficult for others. Emotions run high this time of year, but that doesn’t mean we have to react to such feelings in unhealthy ways.
The program teaches us to live one day at a time, staying present is vital to the goal of lasting recovery. If we are having a rough day, we know that “this too shall pass;” we know that drinking alcohol or doing drugs will not help us feel better about our current situation. If malaise comes over you this Christmas, you know what you need to do—get to a meeting, share with the group, and call your sponsor.
Staying Close to Recovery Support
Programs of recovery are jeopardized during the high holidays, more times than not, because individuals do not have their finger on their recovery pulse. Some convince them self that their program is stronger than it is, and as a result, they decide to go to a holiday gathering. Once there, such people are usually OK for a little while, and then other party goers start offering them beverages. If one’s program is healthy, a simple “no thank you” should suffice. If a person’s Program is fragile, the temptation may prove too much.
Keep in mind, those in their first year can take part in holiday festivities, but preparations are in order. While the safest course is to stay close to your recovery support network this weekend, we know that some people will attend parties due to a sense of obligation. Please note, you don’t have to attend Christmas parties, rather than risk relapse just don’t go. If you feel you must go to a party, then maybe you can bring a friend who’s in the program. Have your phone charged so you can call someone in the program if you get shaky, such as your sponsor. Go to a meeting before the gathering, and one afterward; even if you don’t feel it’s necessary—go anyway. Better to be safe and sober, than drunk and sorry. If you are planning to go to a party, and you’ve discussed it with your sponsor and home group, here are a few tips:
- Get a nonalcoholic beverage immediately upon arriving and keep it by your side at all times. People are less likely to pressure you to drink if they think you are already drinking.
- If someone notices you are not drinking alcohol and inquires, simply inform them that you have to drive; everyone agrees DUIs are not worth the risk.
- Have a way home from the party, either in your car or have somebody to pick you up. You never want to be beholden to another partygoer in these kinds of situations.
- Again, if not going to the party better protects your sobriety, strongly reconsider not going to the party at all. If you don’t hang around the pool, you won’t get wet.
A Sober Christmas to All
Everyone working a program of recovery has a lot to be proud of, and you can use such feelings to empower your resolve. Our future depends on continued spiritual maintenance and practicing the principles of recovery in all our affairs. Take stock of the progress you have made, doing so may help you ward off the temptation to drink or drug this Christmas. A relapse-free holiday is the best Christmas present of all.
All of us at 10 Acre Ranch hope you have a sober and safe holiday and if a problem arises, remember, you are not alone.