The easiest time I’ve ever had staying sober through the holidays was when I was in rehab. It was so easy. There was no family yelling at me and no friends saying, “It’s just one drink, bro.” I didn’t have to worry about running into someone I owed money to. I was miles away from the closest bar or liquor store. Now, when I was released from the friendly confines of treatment and thrown into the unfriendly, and at times toxic, world of the holidays, I needed some tips and tricks on how to avoid the next drunk. So here they are, five tricks I learned or taught myself about how to remain sober over the holiday season. Learn how drugs and alcohol effect the entire family
5) Make a Gratitude List
Heading to the first family holiday kickoff extravaganza, it’s nice to have a reminder in your pocket of all the things you’re grateful for. Your family will test your patience and spirituality. So, when Uncle Richard has you in a headlock and reeks of Canadian whisky, it’s helpful to have him on your gratitude list. After all, he did send that card last Christmas saying how he’s so proud of you.
4) Donate Your Time
AA meetings across the country are holding “Alcothons” around the clock this time of the year. Now, an Alchothon is not at all what your frat brother thinks it is. Alcothons are 24/7 meetings and they all need volunteers to help them prosper. They’re an oasis for those struggling. Stop by and talk to someone, bring in some cookies, chair a meeting, or just brew a pot of coffee. It all helps and, trust me, spending a few minute with the people you’re most similar too will make it way easier to spend time with the people you’re genetically linked to.
3) Call Your Sponsor
Should I have to say this? No, but I do because, when times are hectic and stressful, many of us forget to do the one thing that helped the most. Reach out for help. The holidays are the perfect time to be on the phone with your sponsor because your sponsor has made it through a bunch more of these crapshoots than you have. Now, no one actually in danger of drinking has ever called their sponsor with a drink in their hand. They’ve called before things get that bad, saying, “If my sister tries to talk to me one more time about how weed isn’t addictive, I may just slam a bottle of Southern Comfort and start yelling.” Is alcoholism a disease or a choice?
2) Do Something Athletic
Seem odd right? Wrong. Doing something athletic during these holiday slugfests will release endorphins and ease the stress and anxiety associated with Family. My family loves to compete against each other, to give each other a hard time, and to work out old athletic resentments thirty years later. Do this and you’ll find the holidays actually became fun again! If no one in your family will join you, do it anyway. Go for a run, shoot hoops, just stay active and you’ll actively stay away from a drink.
1) Start Everyday With a Meeting
When I came home for my first sober Christmas, I started everyday with a meeting. This practice put my mind, body, and soul on the right path for the remainder of the day. It’s the equivalent of taking medication when you wake up. I’ve found nothing, no trick or tip, more successful in my quest for holiday sobriety, than going to a meeting every morning. It just works. Period. Want to get sober for good? Find out how!