Every December, many American families get together and make merry. It is a month of glad tidings, and alcohol is often part of having fun. However, if you are in recovery from substance abuse, the holiday season can be difficult to maintain sobriety.
The holidays can remind you of drinking escapades, family problems, past trauma, and other triggers that can cause a relapse. In Northern Illinois Recovery, we can help you to maintain sobriety during the holidays.
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Plan Early and Avoid Known Risks
It would be best to plan how you will maintain your sobriety during the Thanksgiving and First Night festivities. To prepare for a sober holiday season, you can:
- Budget for things such as gifts and vacations to avoid financial-related stress
- Choose the events you will manage to attend and those you will decline to prepare yourself in advance
- List the names of people who are unlikely to stress you or take you to places that can trigger relapse
- Designate a loved one to help you navigate stressful family parties and gatherings
- Set aside time for resting
Be Ready to Adjust Commitments and Traditions
The busy and hectic nature of December can overwhelm anyone. If you intend to stay sober, you need to make the holiday season flexible and less challenging.
One way of ensuring you stay sober is to decline invitations to places and parties that have previously been the cause of your drug or alcohol use.
Learn to say no to things that might jeopardize your recovery, even if they come from your friends. You need to take charge of your recovery and make merry while remaining sober. Having a sober holiday season may mean attending a 12-step meeting after any event or inviting a sober friend or sponsor to the events you attend.
You can also call your therapist or check into rehab for services such as:
- Recovery coaching program
- Gender-based rehab programs
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
- DUI rehab program
- Addiction aftercare programs
Mind Your Thoughts and What You Eat
When at parties, it would be best to have your soft drink in your hand at all times. It will prevent people from continually offering you a glass of alcohol. You also have to pay attention to how they make any drink you order. If you did not see how they prepare the eggnog or punch, find out what is in the drink before taking a sip. Also, do not forget to keep watch of the food you take at social gatherings. Most desserts contain alcohols that often do not cook-off well.
Give Back to Society During the Holiday Season
While still in rehab, you rely on your community’s social support for a quicker recovery. You can reciprocate this favor by volunteering at a local church, senior living center, or homeless shelter. You can also partake in local sober events or organize a drug awareness event in your community.
Contact Northern Illinois Recovery for Sober Holidays
There are limitless ways of enjoying sober holidays. Look within yourself and explore ways you can use to make a significant impact on your recovery journey. If you need professional help with maintaining sobriety during this holiday season, get in touch with our rehab center. Contact Northern Illinois Recovery at 855.786.1978 today to learn more about staying sober during the festivities.
Licensed Physician and Surgeon
Dr. Beth Dunlap, a board-certified addiction medicine and family medicine physician, and is the medical director at Northern Illinois Recovery Center. She is responsible for overseeing all the integrated medical services at both campuses. Beth completed medical school, residency, and fellowship at Northwestern University, where she continues to serve on the faculty as a member of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. She has extensive experience in addiction medicine at all levels of care, and her clinical interests include integrated primary care and addiction medicine, harm reduction, and medication-assisted treatment.