Home for the Holidays: Stay Sober During COVID
It’s fair to say that most people would agree 2020 has been a tough year. Sure, it’s almost over, but we still have to make it through the holiday season which can be a difficult time for those in recovery. This year might be even harder with the COVID pandemic thrown into the mix.
Let’s face it, Americans tend to increase alcohol consumption sometime around Thanksgiving each year. So, this can make it hard for a recovering alcoholic to remain sober during the holidays. The added stress from the lack of social interaction caused by the COVID-19 crisis doesn’t help. So, while there are no clear signs that life will return to normal anytime soon, experts agree it’s possible to stay sober with proper focus, understanding, and planning.
Here are a few things to think about if you’re afraid it may be challenging staying sober during the holidays while navigating a lack of social interaction during a COVID pandemic.
Make a Plan
The most important thing you can do for yourself is to make a plan to stay sober. Knowing what holiday parties you’ll attend (if any, thanks to COVID) and what potential triggers will be present allows you to mentally prepare yourself for that day.
If you don’t have any outings planned and you’re afraid you’ll start feeling lonely as the holidays get closer, try to line something up. Given that the COVID virus won’t be gone by then, you’re best to find something socially distanced and small to stay healthy.
Different people have different triggers, so know yours and develop a plan to avoid giving in. If loneliness makes you want to drink, find friends or family to talk to. If being around certain people make you want to turn back, then avoid them as much as possible.
Always Bring a Sober Friend
If you do plan to attend some holiday parties this year, be sure to bring a sober friend. A good place to find a plus one is in your support groups, or perhaps even your sponsor (if you have one). The most important thing is finding someone who plans to remain sober, who knows you are sober and will help you stay that way.
While you don’t have to stay with this person exclusively the entire night, you’ll want to check in frequently. This is especially important when you’re feeling the urge to give in. It can be difficult to be in a room full of intoxicated people when you are sober. The friend you brought will be on your level, so you won’t ever feel alone in your sobriety.
Yes, the holidays can bring great joy for some, but they can be very hard for others whether they’re sober or not, especially during the COVID crisis. Hence, this is a great time of year to reach out to family and friends to let them know you need some support. It can be as small as simply checking in through the months of November and December. Remember that all forms of communication let you know people are thinking about you and care about your sobriety.
Start New Traditions
There’s no better time than now to start some new sober holiday traditions of your own, even with the COVID pandemic going on. Although there are lots of families who incorporate drugs and drinking into their holiday celebrations, this doesn’t have to be you. A great alternative would be hosting your own party full of your friends from recovery. It’s a great opportunity to eat good food and spend some quality time together.
Another great option for you is to volunteer at a local holiday event in your area. The holidays are a great time of the year to give back, and this is the perfect place to start! Even better when the event is put on by a local 12-step group!
Ways to Stay Sober During the Holidays and COVID
Here’s a quick look at the best ways to cope during the holidays and pandemic:
- Honor Yourself. This means make sure you get enough rest, enjoy the fresh air when you can, and eat healthily.
- Allow for Imperfections. Your life is full of changes, so allow forgiveness and just roll with the flow this year.
- Socialize. As much as possible anyway. If you can’t see someone in person, use platforms such as Zoom or FaceTime as a substitution.
- Have a Plan for Gatherings. As we discussed above create a plan. This includes deciding what you’ll say if offered a drink, carrying an alcohol-free option, bringing a sober friend, and leaving if you must.
- Create New Traditions. Get rid of family traditions that include alcohol and begin creating your own sober holiday fun.
- Make Sobriety a Priority. This is the most important! Attend as many AA meetings as you can! Find a group near you by clicking here.
In the end, the most important thing you must do this holiday season is to take care of yourself! No one is going to judge you if you decide to break away from certain traditions or people to maintain your sobriety. Remaining sober will continue to change your life in many ways, and as you can see the holidays are no different. While it’s easy to get caught up in nostalgic feelings for the past, rather than focus on those, begin making new memories, and live your life to the fullest!
Contact us via our form or by calling 800-247-6111 for more information about Ventura Recovery Center and our mission. Our admissions staff is standing by to assist you with any questions you may have.