For many years, I ruined the holidays for my family. I was drunk or stoned or in rehab detoxing from a near death experience. It was misery. One year I was sitting in a chair at a treatment center watching the ball drop, and I swore I would never be there again. Fast forward 365 days and I was sitting in the same chair at the same treatment center watching the ball drop. How did this keep happening to me?
The holidays can be a stressful time, especially for those dealing with drug and alcohol addiction and recovery. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence estimates that one in every 12 adults suffers from alcohol abuse or dependence, 8% of the population admitted to illegal drug use in the past 30 days, and 20% of the U.S. population was abusing prescription drugs.
While the holiday season can be a deadly trigger for abuse and relapse, researchers have created the top 5 tips to help you or a loved one stay sober. I wanted to share them with you.
Have A Backup Plan: Bottles tend to open later in the evening. If your family is having a Christmas dinner, arrive for the meal and gift-giving, but make plans to exit afterward. There’s nothing wrong with having a backup plan to go to the movies while the rest of your family continues the evening with drinks. Make sure to take your vehicle so you can leave when you want.
Limit Time With The Family: While we all love our family, some relatives can create extra stress. Don’t let the drama of a nagging aunt or a rude cousin be a trigger for a relapse. Spending a limited time with family may hurt someone’s feelings, but it’s better than the alternative.
Just Say “No”: It may be an old cliche, but the saying holds true. If you know the office Christmas party is going to have an open bar, and you don’t feel confident that you can be around coworkers cracking open beers, don’t go. Your sobriety is more important than being seen with people from your office.
Get Involved With Good Work: Get together with your sober friends and create some memories. There are so many things to get involved with during the holiday season that don’t include drinking or using. Create new traditions to celebrate the holiday, whether it’s Christmas shopping for a family in need or working at a local soup kitchen. Surround yourself with other activities and people who support you.
Look for 12 Step Meetings in your Area: No matter how prepared you may be for the stress of the holiday season, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Map out where and when 12 Step Meetings are held in your area. If you’re traveling, plan ahead. Meetings are held all over the country, with information available online.
Your sobriety is the only thing that matters… protect it!