22nd November 2019 in Addictions Treatment

How To Keep Your Cool AND Your Sobriety This Holiday Season

The Holiday Season has begun and from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day people celebrate this time of year with parties, family dinners, holiday events, work get-togethers, holiday open houses, and 24/7 socializing. This time of year is supposed to be about gratitude, family, joy and celebration, however for addicts in recovery it can just as often turn into a stressful time filled with anxiety, tensions, resentments and loneliness- all of which put our sobriety at risk.

Would you like to keep your cool and your sobriety this holiday season? Dr. Harry’s concierge medicine and Living Sober addiction treatment plan can help! Dr. Harry is president and founding director of Harry Haroutunian, MD, a professional corporation providing addiction treatment services designed to help people who have not been well served by the traditional treatment model. Dr. Harry’s mission, purpose and passion is to empower an individual, their family and community through the promotion of optimal wellness of the mind, body and spirit.

Even though the cooler weather is a great time to kick back and relax, holiday activities can involve certain triggers, especially for those early on in their recovery, making it hard to keep our cool and our sobriety! Addiction treatment and relapse prevention with Dr. Harry means learning and implementing practical life skills and recovery management tools that can protect your sobriety and are vital to preventing relapse.

Addiction recovery with Dr. Harry can help you understand the value of awareness about the things that can affect your sobriety.  Whether you are new to addiction recovery or have been sober for years, it is important to be aware of common issues that crop up during the holiday season, which can affect your sobriety.  There can be triggers for addicts, like holiday parties where alcohol is served or added pressure with issues involving money and visiting with family. Having successful coping skills and sober survival skills can mean all the difference to the consistency and quality of your addiction recovery.

Keep Your Cool And Your Sobriety: Sober Holiday Tips from Dr. Harry

All of us in recovery were convinced in the beginning that there was no way we could ever handle the holiday season without having an alcoholic drink in our hands. However, with a right-sized perspective and attitude we became aware that not only are there plenty of other delicious things to drink and eat that are non-alcoholic, but that the holidays are SO much more enjoyable and cheerful when we are actually present, sober and creating happy memories!

As we mentioned, the holiday season is filled with triggers for addicts in recovery: financial pressure, family conflicts and large gatherings. Typically, the holiday season means seeing old friends and family and being in old situations that may have involved drinking or using drugs in the past. The potential for holiday triggers and going back to our old addictive habits is a life and death matter for those of us in recovery.

There may be times during the holiday season when we may feel obligated to put ourselves in situations that feel uncomfortable. However, the reality is that you are not obligated to do any of those things if they threaten your sobriety, because sobriety comes first, or all else will be lost.

Sober holidays bring challenges of many kinds for us all, whether it’s someone’s first sober year or their 40th. Dr. harry likes to suggest having a plan of action, a pre determined blueprint for success laid out, which will not only ensure relapse prevention but will also provide a sense of security. Here are some sober holiday tips from Dr. Harry:

  • Remember the HALT acronym because cravings occur when we are experiencing these feelings. Don’t let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. 
  • Romancing a drink or drug tends to happen when we are alone so avoid isolation and spend time with people you like who are not substance users. Don’t expose yourself to unnecessary temptations, such as gatherings where alcohol is the primary center of entertainment.
  • Use your support system! Plan a meeting before and after an event and have planned telephone calls to friends and sponsor.
  • Have a rehearsed script for why you don’t drink and for an effective and firm “no thank you”. Politely declining sometimes doesn’t work, so you can say something like ‘I don’t drink for health reasons’, and walk away if you must.  You never owe anyone an explanation for why you don’t want to drink.
  • Have a drink in your hand. Make sure to prepare your own non-alcoholic drink (or watch the person doing it) and have it with you at the event. This will stop people from offering a drink, and will keep you hydrated.  Don’t set down your drink and then mistakenly pick up another persons drink
  • Whenever possible have a sober person who is in recovery too or supports your recovery with you and always have a safety exit. Pick your events wisely, and make sure you can leave, safely, anytime if you are uncomfortable.
  • Resist any urges to create drama, triangulate, use the event to stir things up or act out in some way. If there’s too much anxiety involved -don’t go!
  • Last but not least, practice basic self-care: get plenty of rest, watch what you eat, get exercise, get to a meeting and meditate.

Giving Thanks For Sobriety & Recovery This Holiday Season

Giving thanks for our sobriety and recovery this holiday season is about making great memories, and using the opportunity to be fully present and being grateful for friends, fellowship and family.  The holiday season is also a great time to step back and look at where you are, and at all of the things that are working in your recovery. Having an “attitude of gratitude” in recovery invites us to seek, acknowledge and celebrate what we do have, rather than what we lack.

This holiday season you can stay cool under pressure, cultivate a mentality of abundance and stay sober by identifying and avoiding triggers, planning ahead and taking certain steps at parties, family gatherings or events. Stay in the present, focus on today and remember to get your gratitude on!