If you are someone who has been working on staying off alcohol, then you may feel that the festive season is a demanding time for you. We all know that the closer we get to Christmas, the more invites we receive for Christmas parties, meals and drinks, all of which are usually accompanied by lots and lots of alcohol.
Whether you are new in your journey of recovery or whether you have been sober for many years, the following are some tips that may help you stick to your goal of sobriety.
- Remember to remind yourself of your sobriety. Keep your goal in mind. Christmas time can be very distracting. Create reminders for yourself of why you are choosing sobriety and place them in strategic places: an inspiring quote as a screensaver on your laptop or phone, a photo reminding you of why you are choosing this path and place it in your wallet; a significant object which will remind you of the meaning of your sobriety and keep it in your pocket; sticky notes with messages written by yourself and put them in different places in your home.
- Boost yourself. If while working on your sobriety, you have learnt to incorporate more self-care habits, now is the time to double or triple, if needs be, your dose. If you haven’t started on this regime yet, there is no better time to start than now. This may include, taking up some form of physical exercise, eating healthy and sleeping enough. The more committed you are to staying healthy, the less likely you will be to indulge in practices which may cause you ill health, such as drinking.
- Stay connected with others who are on your same journey and who can support you. If you already attend some form of self-help groups, make sure you plan a couple of extra meetings in the weeks leading up to Christmas. If you have not yet started attending such meetings, better start looking for ones close in your area. Furthermore, if you are in therapy, you may wish to schedule an extra support session with your therapist during these weeks.
- Reach out to family and friends who understand you. Share your thoughts and feelings with those who wish you well, who will not judge you or get anxious on your behalf, but who can understand your struggle and support you through this period. Do not be afraid to tell them what you need and what can be helpful to you.
- Find new ways to celebrate Christmas, create new traditions. Who says that we have to drink to be merry?! Be creative and utilize your time and energy differently. Do some voluntary work with the elderly or animal welfare, go watch a movie or organize a non-alcoholic meal for family and friends. Who knows…you may be setting some new trend!
- If you have some time off around Christmas, make sure you structure your time. You know that boredom and lack of routine can sometimes act as a trigger. So, plan your time and stick to your schedule.
The above are some tips that can support your goal in staying sober. In the second part of this blog, we will discuss how to deal with situations where alcohol is being served all around you and you are still choosing not to drink.
Stephanie Caruana is a counsellor at Willingness. She offers counselling services to adolescents and adults experiencing some form of distress. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.