6 Ways to Survive the Holidays Sober

Holiday season is often hailed as the most wonderful time of the year. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years (and more) are meant to make us feel peace, love and joy. Family and friends come together and reconnect over months of festivities, food and traditions.

In a Hallmark world the holiday season leaves you feeling renewed, refreshed and hopeful for all the gifts life holds. In the real world we know that the Holidays come with certain challenges. The stress of gift giving and the differences of opinion between family can be overwhelming for the most grounded individual.

But what if you’re not living in a Hallmark world… or even the real world… What happens when you’re living in the recovery world?

Navigating the Holiday’s while in recovery can pose additional challenges as certain festivities, traditions and individuals can trigger old habits or cravings. As we go into the Holiday season remember that you should put as much effort into planning for your recovery as you put into planning the actual Holidays.

To make it easier we’ve gotten together with Therapists, Case Managers, and Sponsors to create a planning checklist to keep your mental, physical and spiritual well-being strong throughout the holidays:

1. Read from Program Literature:

Whether you’re staying local or traveling during the holidays, program literature is always at your fingertips. If you don’t have your books on hand there are online tools you can utilize such as:  Alcoholics Anonymous : which offers the Big Book, Daily Reflections and the 12 Steps & 12 Traditions online. 

2. Stay Connected with your Therapist: 

If you’re in therapy or counseling, the Holidays are not the time to take a break from connecting with your therapist. With family coming into town, different celebrations, etc. it can be tempting to “take-a-break”. We encourage you to fight that urge. Think about it… how much are you really going to miss out on in 1hour? Now think about the benefits you get from that hour…

For clients who are traveling we schedule sessions via video chat, you can see if your therapist will do the same. *If you aren’t currently connected with a therapist and need to talk to someone we offer online sessions for local and out-of-area individuals, and many insurances accept online sessions. 305-456-6361

3. Healthy Physical Activity:

Physical activity has a long list of benefits:

  • Relieves and reduces stress

  • Promotes positive self-image

  • Increases energy

  • Produces endorphins that helps you feel better and reteaches your body how to naturally produce endorphins instead of relying on substances.

  • Meditation in motion: helps refocus our thoughts.

  • And more…

The good news is that no matter your age or fitness level there are countless ways to be physically active. You can do Yoga, go for a Walk, go to the Gym, get outside and go Kayaking, Stand-Up-Paddleboard, Skiing, Ice-skating, Rock-climbing, the list is endless. Find what you like and have fun!

4. Remember There is Power in Prayer:

Being connected to your higher power is always a good idea. Saying thank you for the blessings in your life help keep us grateful.

Imagine this scenario: You’re at a family gathering and you feel cornered. Someone is on the attack and you’re caught in the cross-fire. In that moment, you have a decision to make: are you going to act like the old you (whether that’s creating a scene or falling apart) or are you going to stay strong and put in place the boundaries and beliefs you’ve been working on?

Imagine that in that moment you can’t call your sponsor or your therapist to talk you through. But you can say a prayer. You can ask your higher power for strength and protection to get you through that situation, and to help you use the tools you’ve been learning.

Prayer is always an option and the two simplest prayers are Thank You, and Help Me.

5. Engage in your Program:

AA | NA | etc. | meetings don’t take time off for the Holiday’s and neither should you! Stay close to your home group, if your schedule doesn’t allow you to make your usually meetings, don’t skip out, find another meeting. If you’re out of town, guess what? They have meetings on cruise ships, there’s a good chance they have one wherever you are! Google makes them easy to find.

6. Keep in Touch with your Sponsor:

If you’ve been going through the steps with your sponsor, they know your relationship with people, places and things better than most. This makes them the perfect ally in creating a plan to get through these next few months. Don’t be afraid to reach out, they’re there to help you!

The Holiday’s truly are a magical time. This checklist isn’t to scare you, or make you want to hide until the holidays are over. Use this as a guide to ensure that you have a plan to support you through an amazing Holiday Season. EHWC wishes you Peace, Joy, Love and Recovery this Holiday Season!