Tips for Maintaining Sobriety this Holiday Season

The holidays can be a challenging time for those who have substance use disorders. During the holiday season, one is usually swarmed with holiday parties and family gatherings. With that comes the copious amount of alcohol and the challenges surrounding how to navigate this. However, as we are now in a second holiday season with various COVID restrictions, we may not be celebrating quite the same as we used to.  We also recognize that the added stresses of this lengthy pandemic, contribute to what can already be a difficult time for many. So, what can you do to maintain your sobriety?

Get in Tune With Yourself

There are many feelings that a person experiences this time of year.  Some experience great happiness and joy, while others may experience loneliness and sadness.

Take some time to identify emotions. Whether it’s with journaling, meditation, talking to a support person, or even your therapist. After identifying your feelings, ALLOW yourself time to feel them, whether it’s sadness, relief, excitement, or despair. Remind yourself that your feelings are 100% valid and offer yourself the time and space to feel them.

Be Prepared

  • Ensure you have the number of your sponsor or your recovery coach with you if you need to give them a call.
  • Book an extra therapy session for yourself to hash out the emotions and feelings you feel.
  • Attend regular meetings and join Avalon’s holiday events to stay connected to your Avalon Sisters.

Stay Busy 

With the holidays comes family gatherings and for many families that means drinking. Be proactive and plan fun activities that aren’t drinking related for you and your family to do. Check out the neighbourhood lights, have a games night, go skating, arrange a family scavenger hunt, volunteer, or go for a hike.

Set Boundaries 

For some individuals, their family might not be their supports. Their family could be extremely triggering if this is the case, set your boundaries, and stand firm with them, especially if they’re in your immediate household. Only spend a certain amount of time with them, and make sure to leave if you’re feeling triggered or upset. Make sure you’re putting yourself first. You can always get out of the house by going for a walk or a drive.

Treat Yourself

Whether it’s at home with your loved ones or prepping big Zoom celebrations, make sure you have your non-alcoholic drink of choice ready – along with a tasty snack or two! It’s the holidays, so treat yourself to some fun and festive non-alcoholic beverages.  Check out our past blog post for some delicious recipes!

Know your Triggers

Being able to identify your triggers is essential in one’s sobriety. By understanding yourself and being in tune with your body, you can avoid situations you know you will be triggering. If you do end up feeling triggered, have your sponsor’s number with you so you can give them a call. Practice grounding techniques if you do end up feeling triggered.

Celebrate Your Sobriety

Tis’ the season to celebrate after all! Make time to appreciate your sobriety this holiday season. Focus on what you’re taking back now that you’re sober.  Write down the reasons why you chose to get sober and carry that around with you. Think about all the reasons the holidays are better now that you’re sober and celebrate your accomplishments!

We know the holidays can be challenging, if you’re looking for support, we have holiday activitiesdaily meetings, Private Facebook Groups, free counselling, and a variety of free resources available on our website.  And…our Centres are open EVERY day over the holidays, including Christmas!

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This blog was originally written by Natasha Roop, a former Intern at Avalon.  Natasha was a Master’s student in Counselling Psychology at Adler University.

Natasha has been working in the field of addiction for many years and is incredibly passionate about helping individuals heal from both trauma and addiction. As a Splatsin First Nations woman, Natasha is also passionate about helping to decolonize the field of counselling.

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