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Ten Things You Need to Do to Stay Sober Over the Christmas Season

sober xmasIf you are newly sober, your risk of relapse could potentially rise over the Christmas period. This is because there is so much drinking going on at this time of year that it is easy to feel left out. Christmas can also be a very stressful period, which can further increase the likelihood. This article lists ten things that you can do at this time of year to increase your likelihood of still being sober come January.

One – Have a Plan for Dealing with Offers of Alcohol

This is a time of year when people like to encourage others to drink. You are almost certainly going to have people trying to encourage you to indulge, especially if you had a bit of a reputation for being a drinker. It is important that you have a plan for how you are going to deal with these requests. The fear is that if you do not, you could easily allow yourself to be talked into a relapse. The goal here is to say no in the quickest way possible and extract yourself from the conversation.

It is not necessary for you to tell your life-story just because somebody asks you to drink. It is okay to just say ‘I don’t drink’ or ‘I don’t drink anymore’. If you reveal any more than this, the person may try to lure you into a conversation where they try to talk you into having a drink. The type of person who is most likely to do this is someone with his or her own drink problem and the fact that you are not drinking threatens this person, so he or she may try to talk you into a relapse. If somebody tries to keep encouraging you to drink alcohol, you need to do your best to avoid him or her completely.

Two – Avoid High Risk Situation

If you have only been sober for a short time (less than a year), it is best that you completely avoid any situation where people are drinking alcohol.  This means not going to Christmas parties or other events where drinking is expected to be taking place. This might sound a bit unfair, but staying sober has to be your priority, so putting yourself in situations where you are at high risk of relapse is not doing you any favours. The reality is that being around individuals who are drinking can be very boring if you are sober.

Three – Take Precautions If You Are Going to Be Around People Who Are Drinking Alcohol

There may be a legitimate reason why you need to be around people who are drinking alcohol; sometimes it is just very difficult to avoid these occasions. If you are going to be attending this type of event, you need to do whatever is necessary to protect your sobriety. One possibility is to take along another sober friend for support but just ensure this person has a very solid level of sobriety or it could mean that you are putting both of your recoveries at risk.

If you are at one of these events, it is best to leave as soon as possible. Sometimes just showing your face will be enough to fulfil expectations. If at any time you do feel close to relapse, you just need to leave no matter what; remember that there is nothing worth losing your recovery for because if you lose this, you lose everything anyway.

Four – Attend Recovery Fellowship Meetings

Recovery groups can be a great resource over the Christmas period, acting like a retreat from the seasonal madness. Even individuals who do not normally bother much with these types of meetings can make an exception at this time of year. The great thing about groups like AA is that they offer so much support; it can be a great help to be around people who are struggling with the same issues at this time of year. If you live in a city, you can find these meetings every day over the Christmas period, including on Christmas day.

Five – Attend Sober Parties

The fact that you are not drinking at this time of year could mean that you really feel left out of things. The good news is that you could still have plenty of fun by attending non-alcoholic events. Groups like AA organise sober parties at this time of year and these can be great fun; it can sometimes be hard to believe that people are enjoying themselves so much without alcohol. If there is nothing going in your area, you could always create your own event with some sober friends. If you do your research, you are also sure to find plenty of seasonal events going on that do not involve alcohol.

Six – Give the Gift of Sobriety to Yourself and Your Loved Ones

The greatest gift you can give to yourself or anyone else this year is to remain sober. You deserve this new life but if you relapse, it just means returning to suffering. There is no doubt that your life has improved since you gave up alcohol, even if this is not always obvious to you, and things are going to continue improving so long as you are able to remain sober.

Seven – Avoid Stinking Thinking over the Christmas Period

Everyone has times when they feel a little negative, but stinking thinking is a pattern of being negative. This means that you are pessimistic about the future and feel cynical about your new life in sobriety. This way of thinking creates a self-fulfilling prophecy; the fact that you do not expect your life to be getting better means you do not do the work needed to make it better. Stinking thinking sucks all the joy out of recovery, greatly increasing your risk of relapse. Try your best to remain positive over the Christmas period and be on the lookout of any signs of stinking thinking; it is also helpful to surround yourself with positive people.

Eight – Treat Yourself to Something Special for Christmas

If you have been working hard at building a new life in recovery, you deserve some type of Christmas reward for all of this hard work. This does not have to involve spending a lot of money if you do not have any spare cash. The main this is that the reward will be meaningful to you, and you see it as an acknowledgement of your progress.

Nine – Enjoy Yourself, it’s Christmas

Millions of people manage to have a good time over the Christmas period without any alcohol, so there is no reason why you cannot do the same. Find out what these sober festive people do to enjoy the season and consider doing the same type of things.

Ten – Do Some Type of Service over the Christmas Period

One of the best things you can do to strengthen your recovery over the Christmas period is to help other people. You will be at higher risk of relapse while you are self-absorbed and focusing too much on your own problems. There are plenty of people needing your help at this time of year. If you have a strong sobriety, you may even considering helping those who are still struggling with their own addiction problems; this is not only a way to give you something back, but it is also going to be a strong reminder of what you could risk going back to.

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