In this first part of this blog, we discussed ways that can be supportive if you are an alcoholic choosing the path of recovery during the festive season. But what about when you are at parties and alcohol is being served all around you and you are the only one there without an alcoholic drink in your hand? How can you remain committed to your goal of sobriety in such circumstances?
- Rule number 1 – you don’t have to say yes to each and every invitation you get. Be mindful when people invite you to parties and ask yourself whether you really want to be there. If it is something you can skip, decline the invite. In the first part of this blog, we discussed how you can experiment with your time and find something more creative and adventurous to do, rather than join the mass in partying.
- If you choose to go to parties where you know alcohol is being served, be mentally prepared. Decide on your response to drink offers beforehand. You may choose to say, “I am not drinking anymore” or “I am not drinking tonight”. Avoid excuses. The more honest you are in your response, the more likely you are to stick to your plan. Although you may get the occasional person who will push you to have that one drink because it is Christmas, you may be surprised to find people who will actually admire your resolve and be respectful and supportive.
- Do not forget the ‘hidden’ alcohol in Christmas cakes and puddings. Whether you are new in your recovery journey or have been on the path for some time, that little taste of alcohol in sweets may trigger off the taste buds and get you into trouble.
- Have an exit strategy. This may consist of:
- Have your own transport. Do not rely on others to give you a lift back home. Knowing you are driving, may be an added incentive to stay off the booze, plus you know that you are free to leave anytime you choose to.
- Decide on a leaving time from the party and stick to it.
- Decide on a reason why you have to leave at that specified time. Make plans to meet someone else after the party. This will give you an added reason to leave.
- Have a person you can call if things get tough for you or ask a trusted friend to give you a call half way through to check in on you.
- Always remain vigilant. During the festive season, many people tend to push their limits and what is usually a no-no, becomes permissible. So, we eat more, we drink excessively, and we party harder. So, remain aware of your circumstances, remember where you started and how far you have gone in your journey towards sobriety and recovery from alcoholism. Be mindful of your triggers.
The festive season can be a tricky time of year if you are someone working on remaining sober from alcohol. Remember the importance of staying connected, not only to others who understand and know what you are going through and so can support you, but also to yourself, to your goal and to what you want to achieve in life. Finally, remember that the festive season shall pass too, and that there is a life waiting to continue to be lived after Christmas.
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.