Surviving Family Holidays Sober
The holiday season is meant to be one of joy and celebration, but for many people, it’s a time of stress and unrealistic expectations. At My Recovery Store, we understand that the holidays, especially family-centered holidays, can be a tricky time for those in recovery. Here are some tips for surviving family holidays sober.
Set Family Holiday Boundaries
Only you know your family dynamics and the situations or people that may tempt you to end your sobriety. Take time before the holidays arrive to think about what boundaries would be the most helpful and make a plan. For some people, it may mean staying at a hotel instead of in a family home so you can escape when you need space. For others, it may mean planning to skip certain dinners or celebrations to avoid certain family members. Once you decide on the boundaries that will help you, write them down, share them with a sponsor or trusted friend, and stick to them.
No One Cares About What’s In Your Glass
Heavy alcohol consumption is associated with every holiday from Halloween through New Year’s. You can't always avoid alcohol-saturated events. However, no one really cares about what’s in your glass. Decide on what you will be drinking ahead of time and stop worrying about it. Toasting with champagne? Have some ginger ale ready. Drinking wine with dinner? Try cranberry or grape juice. Talk with the host of any dinners and parties and let them know ahead of time you will not be drinking. People who love you will want to support you in your sober life. Give them the chance to do just that.
Increase Your Meeting Attendance
Trying to survive family holidays sober is a great reason to increase your meeting attendance. Your recovery “family” knows precisely what you are facing during the holiday season, and they are the best place for support (along with reaching out to your sponsor). Although holiday-related events will be vying for time on your calendar, make time for additional meetings. The road to recovery is making the right decision moment-by-moment and day-by-day.
Practice Daily Gratitude
It’s a season of gratitude and thanksgiving, so what better time to focus on all the reasons you are thankful for your sobriety? Take a few moments each day and list one thing about your new sober life you are grateful for. This daily practice can help you refocus on what is essential - your sobriety, your loved ones, your higher power, and your purpose. You might find daily gratitude focus so uplifting that you carry it forward into the new year. At the very least, it will help you get through those family holidays sober.