The holiday season can bring a mix of emotions to those dealing with addiction. Whether you’re battling anxiety over having to socialize without drugs or alcohol; depression over thoughts of a loved one you’ve recently lost; or discomfort about having to explain your sobriety to friends and family, don’t be discouraged – you aren’t alone! Here are a few tips to help minimize triggers and thoughts of relapse throughout the holiday months.

Have a plan
It’s important to prepare yourself for certain situations so you aren’t caught off guard in the moment. For example, if you know you’ll feel uncomfortable without a drink in your hand, come up with a list of non-alcoholic options you could order. If you know you’ll want to leave early, it might be best to take your own car to the function or ask another sober friend to be on-call to pick you up. If you think you’re going to be asked about your sobriety, be ready to address it in a way that you’re most comfortable. If you prefer not to bring it up, use excuses such as, “I’m trying to go on a run in the morning” or “I’m on a cleanse.” Or, if you feel comfortable addressing it, remember you don’t need to justify your sobriety to anyone. If you’re living a healthier, happier life, those are the only reasons you need.

Avoid people pleasing
Always remember that your health is far more important than attending a holiday function. Be choosy about the events you attend, and don’t feel like you must say “yes” to every invitation. If you don’t need to attend or just simply don’t want to, replace it with a fun, healthy holiday activity! For example, go ice-skating, treat yourself to a nice dinner, volunteer, host a gift-exchange with other sober friends, see a movie or take a relaxing, weekend trip.

Find healthy activities
When you’re at a holiday party, try not to hang around the bar or people who are there to drink and let loose. Instead, position yourself near the food; offer to help out in the kitchen; throw the football with the kids; or even hit the dance floor to stay active and get your mind off of drinking.

Having fun while staying sober can be difficult but definitely not impossible, and regularly talking with someone about staying sober can help. If you’re looking for someone to talk to, our Mental Health and Substance Abuse counseling services might be what you need this holiday season. South Bay strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.