In the US, 1 in 7 adults will experience a substance addiction in their lifetime.
Of those, 10% report seeking treatment for a substance abuse problem. If you’re one of those Americans, staying sober is your priority. But that task can be much more difficult during the holidays.
Whether you’re new to recovery or you’re an old pro, the holidays can be tough. If you need help staying sober, follow these 6 tips.
1. Learn to Say No
Being in recovery means learning to abandon your people pleasing tendencies. Don’t attend an event that can put your recovery at risk just because you can’t say no.
You’re under no under obligation to go to work or family parties. Often, people are drinking at those parties and the temptation can be strong.
Make smart decisions about which parties you attend. And if you choose to attend none – that’s okay too. Staying sober is your priority and those who love you will understand why you need to stay home this year.
2. Have a Way Out
If you feel like you have to go to a specific function, then make sure you know how you’re going to leave if and when the need arises. Plan ahead and know how you’re getting home.
You can bring your own car. That ensures you can leave as soon as you want to. Catching a ride with someone else means you risk them not wanting to leave when you’re ready – or when you need to.
If you take public transportation, then know the schedule in advance. And if you decide to take an Uber or Lyft, make sure you have the app downloaded and your credit card information up to date.
3. Plan How To Explain Staying Sober
At holiday parties where alcohol is in abundance, someone might ask you why you’re not drinking. You don’t have to tell them your life story.
Instead, have a standard response planned in advance. All you have to say is that you don’t feel like it.
If that doesn’t seem satisfactory, say something like “I’m the designated driver”. That’s an easy way to stop any follow-up questions.
4. Use Your Support Network
Other people in recovery know what it’s like to stay sober when everyone else is partying. Have a sober friend on call for you. If things get tough, you can call them for support.
5. Hold on to Your Beverage
If your party is BYOB, then bring your own non-alcoholic beverage. If the party is at a bar, then get a non-alcoholic drink right away.
Don’t let go of that drink. If you have a glass in your hand throughout the party, people are less likely to ask you if you want a drink. They’re also less likely to ask you why you’re not drinking.
6. Limit Triggers
Family members, coworkers, and even friends don’t always understand your recovery. They might pressure you to drink. Other may make you feel like you want a drink just by being in their presence.
In those cases, limit the time you spend with them. You should also avoid spending time with anybody that you used with. Keeping your triggers to a minimum is a sure way of staying sober.
Putting Recovery First
The holidays are coming up and having a plan of action is your first step in staying sober. Knowing what to expect and how to deal with it will you prepare you and help you stay away from your addiction.
For more tips and advice on living sober, check out our blog.