The holiday’s are normally my favorite time of year. I love everything from the family time, Christmas tree hunting, sledding, snowboarding, Christmas parties, shopping for gifts and the food. This year I have a sense of dread. All of those events I mentioned above, I did under the influence. Yes, even snowboarding, which inevitably led to me injuring myself that has had a lasting impact on my right knee and ankle. My whole family for the most part drinks. The whole focal point of Holiday parties whether business or personal, is alcohol. I have a business party for my real estate business and I am thankful that the majority of my agent friends know and are aware I don’t drink and am in the program but I am still worried about so many triggers. I have a game plan in place for Thanksgiving. I am going to my friend from the program’s house first to eat with her family and then I am going to the “sober” family’s house. I can’t avoid family functions indefinitely though. Some of my family members in themselves are triggers for me. I used to only be able to handle certain people because I was half loaded by the time I showed up.
I guess the only thing I can do is take it one day at a time. I wish our society was not so obsessed with alcohol and that you aren’t considered “different” if you DON’T drink. I wish I wasn’t sick and I could drink in moderation with my friends and family and not destroy my life. I wish there was a cure for addiction. As wonderful as the program is and how much it helps, it doesn’t wipe you clean of your demons and vices. The disease sits in me and will for the rest of my life. I would be lying if I said I don’t feel bummed that this holiday season I won’t be drinking. Drinking was a huge part of my life for the majority of my adult life. It will be weird and hard not having a drink on Christmas or New Years eve. I am still trying to figure out what sober people do on these days?
I do know that no matter what I will get through it because I have an amazing support system. It’s just been a thought in the back of my head for the past few days with Thanksgiving looming ahead and no pinot grigio to get me through awkward family exchanges.
For my sober friends who are also in the same boat, here is a list of things you can do other than use/drink:
1. Live in the now.
You cannot change yesterday or control tomorrow. Focus on doing your best right now.
2. Seek support in nature.
Fresh air and sunshine are wonderful antidotes for depression and anxiety. Try out activities like hiking and surfing to establish a deeper connection.
3. Tap into your creative side.
Paint, draw, sculpt, sing or dance. If it gets the creative juices flowing, it’s good for your sobriety.
4. Don’t test your willpower.
Get rid of all of the alcohol in your house, including bottles “for guests” or special occasions.
5. Embrace change.
Change is good, especially when you are becoming a better person. Let go of the past.
6. Let go of resentment.
Focus on forgiveness; grant yourself and your loved ones forgiveness. Without it, moving forward is impossible. Reconnect with family and friends and make amends as needed.
7. Try meditation.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Choose the method that appeals to you. Meditation will help you quiet your mind and center yourself.
8. Don’t live in fear of relapsing.
Worrying about slipping back into old destructive patterns can consume your mind. Instead, focus on your strength in recovery.
9. Fend off loneliness.
Isolation can be dangerous. Spend time with family and friends who will support your recovery and provide positive reinforcement.
10. Use the 24-hour plan.
If a lifetime of sobriety seems overwhelming, start with a smaller goal. Decide that for today, you will not drink or use, no matter what.
11. Don’t put too much pressure on one short stay in rehab.
It takes more than 30 days to develop and nurture a solid foundation for sobriety. It’s something you’ll need to work on every day.
12. Be good to yourself.
Addiction beats you up. Now that you’re in recovery, treat yourself to a massage or a new pair or shoes to celebrate how far you’ve come.
13. Get active.
When your mind and body are engaged, there is less room for cravings. Go for a run in the woods or kick a soccer ball around with the kids. You’ll feel energized, alive, and best of all, sober.
14. Adopt a pet if you don’t already have one.
The responsibility of a pet will add more structure to your lifestyle, and the unconditional love that animals offer is truly irreplaceable.
15. Check yourself frequently.
With every decision you make, ask yourself: “Is this the healthiest choice for me right now?”
16. Give back.
Whether volunteering your time or your skills, helping others just feels good.
17. Be willing to walk away from stressful situations.
You have enough stress in your life. Learn how to let go of what you don’t need.
18. Create a gratitude list.
Each and every day, write down a couple of things you are grateful for. If you’re having a bad day, look at your list and remember how far you’ve come.
19. Clean your mental house.
Get rid of the negativity. Speak to yourself with loving, supportive, encouraging words. If this is hard, be kind to that struggle.
20. Create goals.
Always have a challenging goal in the back of your mind; something that pushes you to be better and reach new heights.
21. Don’t stress over discouraging statistics.
You are an individual in control of your own success in recovery.
SOURCE: 21 tips to staying sober
God be with you. Happy Thanksgiving!