It’s no secret that holidays are the most difficult time for many recovering addicts. After all, they not only remind us of previous years of substance abuse, but also tend to put us in close contact with those substances. The chances are that any party you attend will have alcohol available at least.
But avoiding this issue is not easy. If you are religious, you will want to celebrate with family. And even if you are not, these celebrations might be very important to you and those close to you.
Since simply keeping your distance is probably not an option, how can you go about staying clean and sober during the holidays? Take the following tips into consideration.
Celebrate with people who know about your journey
Unfortunately, people who have not suffered from addiction (or are not close to someone who has) tend not to be sensitive towards other people’s sobriety. They come up to you with drinks, urging you to join in, then asking why not if you decline. It’s not quite the same as the peer pressure we were warned about in school, but it’s not far off either.
In an ideal world, we would all be able to be open about our substance abuse journey. However, even those of us who are comfortable speaking about it to just about anyone understand that a holiday party is not the best place to open up. Especially not with people who are already inebriated.
This is why you should celebrate with people who know about your substance abuse journey. They will be sensitive to your reality, even if they are drinking. They’ll also serve as a buffer to anyone who tried to cross your boundaries.
Have a readymade reason to leave
Sometimes, there comes a point in a party at which you know you will be in danger if you stay longer. The problem is that it is often hard to leave without feeling like you are being rude. Politeness should never be a reason to relapse, but it can be a huge stumbling block.
Come prepared to any party with a readymade reason to leave. If you can, plant the seeds even before the party itself. Tell the host that you might have to leave early.
Lies are dangerous for recovering addicts, but sometimes a little white lie can get you out of dangerous situations. Try to keep it simple and rather be vague than indulge any nosiness from the host and other partygoers.
Bolster your support system
There is no better time than the holidays to bolster your support system. Go to extra meetings, see your therapist, speak to the friends and family you trust. Discuss all the potential situations you might need to navigate.
The stronger your support system is during this time, the less likely you are to relapse. Reinforcing the existing structure will be helpful not only now but in the long term as well.
Holidays are tricky for addicts. Take the time to set up some fail-safes to protect your sobriety in the face of all potentialities.