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9 Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

The holiday season can be difficult for people who are in addiction recovery. The time of year around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day is an excuse for many to indulge in excess. If you’ve struggled with a substance use disorder, it can feel like you’re surrounded by temptations and triggers. Don’t worry, though — with careful planning and a healthy mindset, you can have just as much fun without putting your well-being at risk.

Read on to discover our top 9 self-care tips for staying sober during the holidays to ensure you still have an awesome time.

1. Fill Your Time

Perhaps the most important piece of advice for enjoying the holidays while in recovery is to ensure you’re busy. When you’re sitting around at home, it can seem as if everyone is having a better time than you are. You don’t need to spend lots of money or be a social butterfly to have a full calendar, though. Between working out, planning and eating healthy meals and engaging in one or two hobbies, your time will be full and you won’t feel like you’re missing out.

Going out for walks or coffee and playing sports with friends are great ways to socialize without any exposure to triggers. You could even plan 12 days of sober holiday events for you and your friends. The chances are that everyone will have such a great time that they’ll forget about getting drunk. An example of 12 days of sober activities could be:

  1. Draw pictures of each other
  2. Climb the nearest hill or mountain
  3. Go to a heated swimming pool or spa
  4. Have a karaoke night
  5. Attend an online fitness class
  6. Visit local art galleries and museums
  7. Host a clothing swap party
  8. See your favorite Christmas show
  9. Throw a dinner party
  10. Go on a mini-road trip
  11. Volunteer at a retirement home
  12. Take your friends ice skating or roller skating

2. Make New Connections

Many people who have been through addiction treatment find they need to create a new support system. Old friends might have been involved in excessive alcohol or drug use, and being near these people will make it much harder on your mental health. As an adult, it can seem impossible to make new friends, but it’s much easier than you might think.

If you were at the gym or in the park and someone struck up a conversation, then chances are you’d be delighted. It works the same the other way around — you can make friends with similar interests just by having the confidence to approach someone and start chatting.

3. Focus on Fitness

One of the best things you can do to stay sober after finishing a treatment program is to continue with a highly structured self-care routine. In rehab, you would have spent time exercising every day, in addition to waking up and going to bed early. Continuing these healthy habits as you continue your recovery journey gives you the best chance of long-term sobriety.

You don’t need to push yourself to your limits on a daily basis, but if you spend a little time stretching, doing quick HIIT sessions, or taking part in an activity you enjoy like dancing or boxing every day, you’ll look and feel amazing. Working out releases the body’s natural feel-good chemicals, and it can even help you to rebalance hormones.

4. Remember to Eat Healthily

Another major aspect of taking care of yourself is what you put inside your body. Food items like sugar and highly processed goods contribute to conditions like anxiety and depression. These mental health conditions massively increase your risk of relapse, so it’s best to stick to eating and drinking foods and beverages that make your body feel good.

5. Spend Time With Family Members and Other Loved Ones

Your family will be delighted that you’ve attended a treatment center for drug or alcohol abuse. You might feel embarrassed about your past behavior, but the only way to overcome this is to create new memories and proudly show them how far you’ve come. For the most part, they’ll just be incredibly happy to spend time with you now that you’re healthy.

6. Take a Sober Friend to Holiday Parties

There’s no doubt that at some point, you’re going to have to attend a party that involves substance use. The best way to navigate these situations is by biting the bullet and asking a close friend to be your sober pal for the evening.

Asking your biggest party animal friend might not be the best approach in this situation. However, if you ask someone who you know doesn’t drink much already, they’re highly likely to say yes and not mind it at all. Going to our friends for help can be hard, but in most instances, they’ll be happy to help you out.

7. Volunteer at a Homeless Shelter

An excellent way to put your situation into perspective while contributing to the community is to volunteer with the homeless during the holiday season. While there’s no reason for you to feel guilty or compare yourself to the people you’re helping, there’s no denying you should focus on feeling grateful for what you have instead of getting caught up in what you can’t have.

8. Enjoy Fancy Nonalcoholic Beverages

When you attend events where alcohol use is rife, make sure you have a delicious and special drink you adore. Virgin mojitos, Shirley Temples, and sparkling kombucha are great choices for someone who’s on the wagon but still wants to indulge in a special treat during the holidays.

9. Attend Regular 12-Step Meetings

Last but by no means least, support groups should be an important part of your game plan. During these sessions, you can express how you feel and ask for guidance about any challenges you’re facing. You’ll also get to see how other people cope with the holidays and recovery and take comfort in the fact that you’re not the only person experiencing these challenges.

Staying Sober During the Holidays Is Fun!

Holidays and recovery can be a challenge, especially for someone who’s just started their recovery journey. As long as you plan ahead, avoid relapse triggers, and speak openly about how you’re feeling at Narcotics or Alcoholics Anonymous, you can have loads of fun during Christmas and New Year.

Call Calusa Recovery today at 844-254-9664 if substance abuse is a problem for you this holiday season.