Winter time is associated with the holidays, holiday parties, vacations, and an overall increase in social activity. While this is something most people look forward to each year, it can be a tremendous challenge for an individual with substance use disorder. Dreading the thought of being around so much alcohol is certainly understandable. However, there are things you can do to make the best of the situation while staying sober. Here are 6 tips on how to stay sober during the holidays.
1.) Time Limits
One of the most important tips to staying sober is to set a time limit for any social event you attend. It’s going to be hard to resist drinking, when everyone around you is doing so. For this reason, you need to reduce the amount of time you subject yourself to temptation. The less time you spend fighting your cravings, the less likely you are to give in.
Remember that “one drink” typically leads to two, then three, and so on. Set an hourly alarm on your watch or phone. If you feel your resolve waning when you hear the reminder, come up with an excuse to leave and just take off.
2.) Bring Support
Always remember to bring a friend or family member who knows you’ve been in a faith-based treatment program. Showing up alone is taking the risk that you’ll give in and have a drink, figuring that no one will find out. Having the right friend with you can boost your confidence and will likely make the situation more bearable. Your friend will also expect you to remain sober.
3.) Stay Active
Once you’ve settled in at a party, it’s easy to get comfortable in conversation with others. If you find yourself staring at their drinks, it’s a sign that temptation is weighing on your mind. If you’re planning to stay longer, your best bet is to keep yourself busy. Play a game of cards or watch a ball game on television. What you do is not important. The point is to stay active so you won’t get tempted to drink.
4.) Avoid Triggers
If you don’t think you attend a specific event without drinking, don’t go. You can always contact your friends later and arrange to get together at a different time, under different circumstances. It shouldn’t surprise you that you might have to make sacrifices like this, in order to maintain your sobriety.
Remember that it’s not just individuals in faith-based treatment programs that have to deal with these realities. Gambling addicts do best when they avoid casinos and gambling meccas like Las Vegas. A sex addict is asking for trouble, if they’re planning to attend a bachelor party with exotic dancers. If setting time limits and bringing a supportive friend isn’t enough, it’s best to avoid the situation altogether.
5.) Drink Non-Alcoholic Beverages
One of the first things you should do when you get to one of these events is put a non-alcoholic beverage in your hand. Just holding some type of drink makes you less likely to get tempted to drink alcohol. While water or juice is certainly preferable, even a soda is better than something with alcohol. Others are likely to assume the drink is spiked with something alcoholic and probably won’t ask you what’s in it.
6.) Plan Your Exit
No list of tips to staying sober would be complete without advising you to have an exit strategy for social events. You might feel fine at first, then suddenly get a craving from out of nowhere. That’s when you need an excuse to leave and it’s better to have a plan prepared, ahead of time. If all else fails, escape to the bathroom for a few minutes, then come back and tell everyone that something came up and you have to leave.
There are many benefits to staying sober, whether you have substance use disorder or not. It’s important to keep this in mind, especially if you’re feeling deprived of what your idea of a good time used to be. Remember that this is not a battle you’re going to win overnight, but these tips on how to stay sober during summer can help, if you’re willing to stay committed.
If you or a loved one is suffering from alcohol addiction, contact us today to schedule a consultation. The Sinclair Method offers hope to break-free from addiction to alcohol. Call today! (972) 203-3600