Tag: holidays

Stay Sober Throughout the Holidays

How to Stay Sober

Happy Holidays from Lighthouse Recovery

Family – gotta love ‘em, right? Mom and dad, bickering over the le

ngth of time that the in-laws will stay; belligerently drunk Uncle

Jim, knocking down the wreaths and bows, cursing his father for playing favorites and spilling eggnog and rum all over the rug. Five obnoxious cousins, four high-maintenance aunts, three screaming babies, two awkward ‘family friends’, and a dog eating right off the table. With all of the chaos and confusion, it is sometimes difficult to find a moment to sneak away and meditate. But because being surrounded by such dysfunction for even a couple of days can be so overwhelming, maintaining your spiritual footing throughout the holidays is nothing short of essential.

Family Dysfunction Around the Holiday Season

Of course, family is far from the only seasonal stressor we will be faced with. We will be attending company Christmas parties, ugly sweater events, and what with New Years right around the corner, the festivities are only just beginning. Triggers will be popping up left and right, and all of the financial, familial, and emotional stress of the holidays may tempt us to toast with champagne if our own houses do not remain in order. So how do we stay sober throughout the most wonderful time of the year? First of all, it is important to remember that the ensuing mayhem is only temporary. Once February rolls around you will be entirely in the clear, free from all of the gift-giving and forced festivities for at least another 11 months. Remaining in the moment and remembering that ‘this too shall pass’ is not always the easiest course of action throughout this time of year, however. For this reason, we have compiled a list of certain frequently occurring, sobriety-compromising situations, and presented you with potential courses of action to take that will help protect your recovery and keep you happy, jolly, and free all year round.

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Keep Your Sobriety Intact Throughout the Holidays

Scenario #1: Christmas Dinner at the Parent’s House.

Solution: Have an escape plan, keep sober supports on speed dial, and bring a book (maybe a big one). Remember that your sobriety is far more important that helping your frazzled mother cook the ham. If you need to step away and hit a meeting or call up your sponsor – do it. Maybe look up nighttime meetings in the area beforehand, so you know exactly where to go if you start feeling overwhelmed. Bring your Big Book with you, and lock yourself in an upstairs bathroom for a little light reading from time to time. Meditate, pray, meditate, pray. And then pray a little more.

Scenario #2: Company Christmas Party.

Solution: Arrive early, leave early. Like… very early. Like ‘stay for an hour’ early. Yes, okay, so you’ve had a major crush on Jim from Accounting for years, and now seems like the perfect opportunity to finally corner him under the mistletoe. If it’s meant to be it will be regardless, and you should probably avoid mingling with coworkers right in front of Cindy from HR anyways. Get in, enjoy some cream puffs and cheese dip, and get out. If you have to stick around for a ‘white elephant’ gift exchange, keep a wine glass full of cranberry juice on you so nobody obnoxiously asks questions.

Scenario #3: Ugly Sweater Party with Friends.

Solution: Make an appearance and bounce. Or, if you feel at all uncomfortable, just say ‘no’ altogether. Chances are, you have been around your drinking friends while they were drinking many times before, and this event will be no different. Practice setting boundaries and spending your time in more productive and rewarding ways. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or bring a meeting into a treatment center. Find some way to bide your time in a more fulfilling and spiritually-bolstering way.

Scenario #4: You Have No Money, No Friends, and No Family.

Solution: Welcome to early recovery! One thing addiction is good at is stripping us of literally everything we value. Fortunately for you, this too shall pass, and if you keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing the next right thing, the coming year will be beyond your wildest dreams. Truly. It might suck right now, and that’s okay – we often need to wade through piles of dense and seemingly unrelenting crap in order to get to the good stuff. Fortunately for you, the Alcathons that most meeting houses hold around-the-clock during the holidays are open to absolutely everyone. Look into volunteering at a nearby Alcathon, and spend your holidays helping others (or simply attending meetings). One month of major crappiness is absolutely worth a lifetime of immense and unbelievable happiness, beauty, and freedom. You can do it.

Scenario #5: New Year’s Eve.

Solution: Spend New Year’s Eve with sober friends, and do something cool, fun, and not-in-a-bar. Take a nighttime hike and pack some bottles of Martinelli’s – toast to the New Year with a couple of close friends under the stars. Watch the ball drop in your living room with a close friend or two, and discuss resolutions while eating popcorn and pizza. As addicts and alcoholics, we often feel that if we aren’t “out” we’re missing out on some marvelous and life-changing action. All we’re missing by not going to the club on New Year’s is a champagne vomit-stained outfit, a deeply regrettable drunken hook-up, and a really unfortunate January 1st. Waking up without a hangover on the first day of the year is worth everything.

Staying sober through the holiday season can seem, at times, impossible. But keep the word ‘temporality’ in mind – unless you’re dreaming of a white chip Christmas, staying spiritually in-tune and surrounding yourself with support will be essential. And remember – this is the season of giving. The best gift you can possibly give yourself and your loved ones is the gift of dedicated and long-term sobriety.

5 Gifts Not to Get a Recovering Alcoholic for the Holidays!

By Tim Myers

Avoid These Gifts!

Okay, this should be obvious and I shouldn’t have to say it, but I do. This list does not apply to all alcoholics. This list is not based on any scientific fact. It’s based on my life and my experiences. These are my best teachers and have helped me get four years sober.

avoid these gifts for a recovering alcoholic

The holiday season presents some very unusual experiences and brings out some very unusual people we usually don’t associate with and that, three hundred and sixty-four days of the year, we don’t get gifts from.

Now, we’re all different. We’ve found sobriety and many of the wackos we call family haven’t changed. Their gift giving skills haven’t improved. So, if you’re a family member of an alcoholic and you happen to stumble across this article, please know that I’m an alcoholic and please don’t give me, or any other alcoholic, the following gifts.

5) Recovery Related Literature

Ok, so not everyone in your 300+ extended family knows your loved one is an alcoholic. When you’re all decked out in your Christmas sweaters and flannel pajamas is not the time to declare Jimmy’s an alcoholic!

When he opens a book called “How to Stay Sober for Dummies” you, the gift giver, will be the only one of those 300 who doesn’t feel awkward. Your loved one, or secret alcoholic Santa, will receive all the recovery literature they need, it just shouldn’t come from you.

I can do WHAT in recovery?!

4) Pictures From the “Dark Days”

If you know your son struggled with cocaine, giving him a cute picture from when he weighed forty-five pounds is not a good idea. A picture of him at a family function with a bottle raised in the air is not a good idea. His eyes may look so blue and beautiful, but don’t do it! Now is not the time to make a point!

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3) A Puppy

This can be a great idea, just make sure that your recovering honey is in a position to care for others.

A good way to find this out indirectly is to ask if they’re sponsoring people in AA. If so, they’re putting others before themselves as a way of staying sober. A puppy will strengthen this, help them stay accountable, and help them keep to a schedule. If they’re in early-recovery, the puppy may take time away from them working on themselves or the puppy may be neglected for their program.

2) Large Sums of Money

Please do not give an alcoholic in early-recovery large sums of money!

They have to work for this. They have to sweat for this. They have to live in a way that promotes the forward progress of their life. If you step in and hand them a large sum of money, it may throw the brakes on their self-discovery. They may revert back to the life of a taker instead of a worker.

My recovery was forged with a bike and a sponsor. So, a good rule of thumb is that if the sum of money exceeds that of a bike and a sponsor, don’t give it to the one you love in early-recovery!

A sponsor costs $0. A bike isn’t too expensive either.

Learn tips and tricks for a sober Thanksgiving!

1) Alcohol


Now that you know what not to get a recovering alcoholic for the holidays, learn what TO get them!

We are here to support you during your time of need and help you make the best decision for yourself or your loved one. Click below to speak to a member of our staff directly.

Lighthouse Recovery Institute