Friday March 24th 2017

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19 Tips for Sobriety: The Holiday Edition

Sobriety is easier than you think!

This is the time of the year that is supposed to be exciting and joyous! But it is easy – especially in early sobriety – to fall into a trap of self-pity if you are away from your family or friends. You can also repeat old behaviors when you’re in familiar surroundings.

To battle the temptations to relapse, let’s talk about some ways to perk up and stay sober around the holidays. It is easier than you may think!

Q: How can you maintain your sobriety and survive the holidays?
A: You need a toolkit of coping mechanisms and things to keep you entertained

Continue reading more here, as our ideas may help you. We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season, and invite your questions in the designated section at the bottom of the page.

Going Home? 10 Tips for a Sober Holiday with Family

Going home for the holidays can be stressful as there is usually a lot of fuss around meeting a large group of your close family and friends…all in the same place. Stay calm! Breathe! Below are some key pointers to keep in mind this holiday season if you go home for the holidays:

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TIP #1 – If people are drinking around you, drink flavored drinks like sweet tea, cranberry juice, or ginger ale. Milk these drinks, add ice, or spritz things up with carbonated water. Watch out for the eggnog!

TIP #2 – Stay away from old people, places and things

TIP #3 – Keep conversation casual with your family members. No need to trigger each other with questions about jobs, money, or other emotionally charged topics. Need to avoid confrontation?Walk away and start a new conversation.

TIP #4 – Don’t broadcast your arrival on social media, all those bad influences from your past do not need to know your home.

TIP #5 – Keep expectations to a minimum, just enjoy your time and the people around you! No one owes you anything.

TIP #6 – Do daily check ins with your therapist or sponsor. Our clinical team at Oceans Medical Centers has a daily check in and nightly assignments for those who go home during the holidays.

TIP #7 – Keep positive and share your love, make everyone proud.

TIP #8 – Try a fun new hobby like cooking a new holiday recipe or holiday crafts, to lighten the mood and stay occupied.

TIP #9 – If emotions run high, and you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation call a friend with over a year sober, or sponsor, take a breather and meditate, and remember: “This too shall pass.”

TIP #10 – For New Year’s Eve, watch the ball drop with close family and friends, or just watch a heart warming movie and relax.

Away From Home? 9 TIPS for a Sober Season

If you are away from family and friends during the holidays, and this is your first few times on your own in a new environment, stay optimistic! You may not be physically present to all the family gatherings, but you can still send and receive love and keep in touch. Also, check out these awesome tips:

TIP #1 – Send out Christmas cards to your loved ones back home, it’ll make you and them feel a sense of holiday cheer!

TIP #2 – Look up holiday related local meetings and events in your area, there are tons of them going on just look!

TIP #3 – Plan ahead. This should be self-explanatory but make sure you have plans so you aren’t by your lonesome. A good meal and a sense of community makes the holiday more enjoyable.

TIP #4 – Give back. Go to a church or your local homeless shelter and give out food or presents to the needy.

TIP #5 – Watch a TON of Christmas or holiday movies! Or choose a series or theme and watch movies [filmed in a specific city] or [Westerns from the 1990’s] or [kitch alien films]. Binge on your favorite films, and stay occupied in a positive way.

TIP #6 – Don’t make this worse than it is, your mental health and sobriety are priority and there will always be more holidays to come. If you’re really not feeling great, look into expressive writing to explore your feelings or make sense of your current state.

TIP #7 – Participate in holiday cheer, dress up in holiday colors, sing holiday jingles, and listen to seasonal music while lighting a fireplace scented candle!

TIP #8 – If you are in sober living, or live with others plan a community dinner and cook for your fellow sober friends!

TIP #9 – On New Year’s Eve, make plans with your fellow friends to watch the ball drop and order pizza!

The holidays in addiction recovery: A survival guide!

In summation, The Holidays are what you make of it. Don’t fall into a pit of despair, and do not let your feelings snowball. Reach out for help, talk to people you usually don’t talk to, call friends and family, experience inner joy on the holidays, and most of all STAY INVOLVED. Do not let yourself straggle off on your own, because of course you will find a reason to use.

You can do this! This can be an amazing experience for those and those around you; even if you are not with your family or friends, make them proud by showing them you can get through this holiday season happy and healthy.

May peace be with you, and have a wonderful holiday season whether it be Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, New Year’s. Make it a great one!

Holiday sobriety questions

Do you have something that you’d like to ask or share? All your questions, comments, and feedback are welcomed in the section at the bottom of this page. We appreciate your input and try to provide personal and prompt responses to all legitimate inquiries. In case we don’t know the answer to your question, we will gladly refer you to someone who can help.

Happy Holidays!

Photo credit: Jason Corey

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About Dana Kippel

Dana Kippel is a Client Advocate for Oceans Medical Centers driven by passion and experience. She has dedicated her life to helping others who struggle with Substance Abuse and Mental Health issues. Dana is inspired by her interactions with others, multimedia, reading, and seeing others succeed.

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