It’s challenging enough to stay sober during the holidays because there are so many triggers that may tempt you. But learning how to stay sober during the holiday season during a world pandemic is a whole new ball game.
Why Is it So Difficult to Stay Sober During the Holiday Season?
Traditionally, the holidays are a more challenging time to stay sober. The days get shorter, and holiday parties and mandatory work functions often include lots of drinking and other indulging. On a social level, alcohol is given as a gift more during the winter holiday season than any other time of year. That’s why it’s no coincidence you see lots of advertisements on television and in stores for liquor as gifts.
Pressure to Imbibe
Even if you decide to abstain from any substances at a party, you may feel extreme peer and social pressure, and if you choose to ‘just indulge a little,’ you may end up losing control and feeling remorse later.
Added Stress During the Holidays
Additionally, the holidays are typically when you see family you may not normally see, and that can add extra stress and anxiety to an already busy time of year. That added family pressure can trigger reverting to old habits, and staying sober can be tough when family drama mounts.
The alternative to indulging at parties or in response to family pressure is simply avoiding those triggers altogether. While it’s a noble and valiant effort and may sound like the best solution for how to stay sober during the holidays, what it can also mean is that you are lonely and missing out on the love and support that you need the most right now. Being alone at the holidays can be what you plan to help you stay sober during the holiday season, but may lead you to turn back to substances as you battle loneliness and possible depression.
Staying Sober During The Holiday Season 2020: The COVID-19 Conundrum
This holiday season is like none we’ve ever had before. People worldwide are still living very secluded lives in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and work functions, holiday parties, and gatherings. Even small-family or group activities may be canceled out of an abundance of caution.
This may look like an automatic way to stay away from any of those traditional holiday triggers on the surface.
But as we’ve said, loneliness, particularly during the holidays and with the added helplessness that the COVID-19 virus can bring may lead you to feeling depressed and in pain, and wanting to numb those feelings.
Continued after video:
How To Stay Sober During The Holidays: Simple Ways To Survive
When it comes to staying sober this holiday season, there are a few things you can do to keep your spirits up and keep away from triggers that might lead you to make choices you’ll regret.
Service is always a way to take the spotlight off of things you’re going through and focus on others. In a time where many people are still relying on others to pick up groceries or medicines, or even for a phone call just to check in on them, focusing on others can help you stay sober. Though it’s a different holiday season, more than ever, many non-profits that work to help those in need can use help, and you can even do many things from home. Find something that you believe in (animal shelters are particularly needy this time of year, and animals can offer emotional support you may be seeking), and see how you may help this holiday season.
You can also see if your work has any extra projects on which you can work. Extra work during the holiday season isn’t necessarily the holiday thing we’re dreaming of, but taking new projects on or helping out with another’s project may be just what you need to fill those lonely times. It can give you a positive purpose for which you can direct energy and attention.
Get Support From a Trusted Resource
If you’re lonely, use your resources. Call or Facetime or Zoom family and friends and maintain social community. These meetings may be better for you during the holiday season anyway, as you’ll get all the socialization perks without the pressure you might have to drink or turn to substances because of the different nature of the gathering. You live in a day and age where you can find people in similar boats as you; don’t be ashamed to reach out to them.
And in that, if you’re worried about how to stay sober during the holidays, don’t be ashamed to seek professional help. That’s what we’re here for.
Ocean Hills Recovery: Here For You Every Day Of The Year
While we’re here for you every day of the year, we realize that the holiday season can be tough, and especially this year. You don’t have to go through the holidays continually worrying about how to stay sober. With our help, you can be sure that you make it through this period healthy and sober, and ready to take on a new year. You don’t have to be tied to the chains of addiction or fear of relapse this holiday season, and we can help you not just survive, but to thrive. Contact us today; we’re waiting to walk with you.
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATCI). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.