4 Fun Ways to Stay Sober During the Holidays

With all the get-togethers and parties that go on during the holiday season, it seems, even more, challenging to stay sober. For many in recovery, the holidays can be a triggering reminder of past times that drugs and alcohol were used to celebrate. During this time, it is important to focus on your sobriety more than ever so that a relapse does not occur. After all, you didn’t work so hard on your sobriety just to throw it away during the holiday season. Thankfully, there are a few fun tips for ways to stay sober during this time of year.

#1: Get out and Play!

Exercise is a great way to get your mind off of all the cravings and temptations you may have surrounding you during the holidays. It also is a great mood regulator, so getting out and moving or working out can help to keep the dreaded holiday blues at bay. Recruit family members to get outside and play a game of touch football or see who wins in a competitive game of horse. Not only is exercise a great way to keep your mind off of drugs or alcohol and stay sober, but it is a great way to have a fun time with loved ones. Who knows? It may even turn out to be a new holiday tradition.

#2: Stay Grateful and Accepting

The main reason that it is so important to find ways to stay sober during the holidays is that it is a big time for relapse. This is mostly due to the high rate of people in recovery feeling depressed during this time of year. Whether it is due to isolation or expectations not being met, depression is extremely dangerous to your sobriety. It can be hard to be excited about the holidays if you do not have the support from family that you desire or if plans fall apart and loved ones disappoint you this season. To prevent or help with the holiday blues, remember to stay grateful and accepting. You may not have the Christmas that you had envisioned but, you do have your recovery success. To remind yourself of all that you are grateful for, write down a list of your blessings so that you are made aware of all that you do have instead of all that you do not. Also, work on meditation techniques to help keep your mind at peace. This helps to accept the things that we cannot change, like a holiday season that doesn’t go as expected.

#3: Make New Traditions

Especially if you associate the holidays with drinking and doing drugs, you will need to make new traditions so that you don’t assimilate back into your old habits this season. Although it may have been a good time to sit around with family and share a few drinks, this is no longer an option to you in recovery. Firstly, make sure that your family is supportive in no longer taking part in these unsober holiday activities. Once everyone is on the same page, you can think of ways to stay sober by implementing new traditions. Try a new board game, play a holiday gifting game, or even get out of the house to see a movie or go to a museum with the whole family. Not only will your family get a new tradition to look forward to each year, but you will have a new supportive and sober activity to experience with you family and loved ones.

#4: Help those in Need

A great way to get your mind off of your own misfortunes is helping others in need. There are those in the world who have it far worse than you this holiday season. Helping others can help you gain a sense of gratitude this season and also make you feel good about your success in recovery. After all, the holidays are about giving, not receiving. If you remind yourself of this, the holidays are sure to mean more than what you expected to receive from them. Like the much cherished holiday classic figure Dr. Seuss,’ The Grinch Who Stole Christmas pondered, “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more!”

 

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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