The holidays are meant to be joyous and beautiful as they only come once a year. However, for some people, anxiety and stress are common holiday themes. Unfortunately, many people turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism. However, when someone is in recovery, the added stress of maintaining one’s sobriety can be quite challenging as they attempt to navigate alcohol-free holidays.
Why Is Drinking Associated with the Holidays?
The holiday season is accompanied by an increase in family gatherings, social functions, dining out, holiday parties, corporate parties, and overindulgence. Most people will eat more and drink more from Thanksgiving through New Year’s as it is their one time of the year to let loose and enjoy themselves. They will worry about their overindulgence in January when they make their New Year’s resolutions to exercise more, eat healthier, and reduce alcohol consumption.
However, it can be difficult when someone wants to celebrate alcohol-free holidays with alcohol so readily available all around them. Not to mention, they will be encouraged by family, friends, and co-workers to join in. After all, what harm is there in having just one drink?
As you should be well aware, even having one drink could lead to a relapse and cause you to lose all control of your sobriety. So, as you are making your holiday plans, here are some great ideas and tips to help you maintain your sobriety while you celebrate the holidays.
Host an Alcohol-Free Holiday Party
If you have concerns about maintaining your sobriety when attending other events and parties, politely decline any invites and skip them. Instead, host an alcohol-free holiday party. Instead of alcoholic drinks, you can serve gourmet coffees, hot chocolates, and mocktails.
Plan a Holiday Movie Night with a Sober Friend
Holiday movie nights are a great way to relax and enjoy the season without feeling pressured to drink. Invite a sober friend or more to join you. You can pop popcorn and make finger foods to enjoy while watching holiday movies.
Skip the Family Holiday Gathering
Family holiday gatherings can be very stressful when we are in recovery. There can be painful memories, unresolved conflict, and having to face everyone sober. Instead of putting yourself into a stressful situation you are not yet ready to tackle, plan to get together with friends who are also in recovery.
For example, you can plan a holiday potluck meal, play board games, exchange gifts, or do a cookie exchange, all while remaining sober.
Enjoy the Outdoors
There are plenty of things to see and do outside your door. So grab a close friend or two and head out to check out holiday lights and decorations in your community. Many communities have holiday light celebrations where you can drive through different neighborhoods.
You could also go ice skating if there is an ice skating rink in your area. Skiing and sledding are other fun outdoor activities to enjoy during the holiday season. Another great relaxing outdoor activity is going on a wintertime nature walk.
Give Back to the Community
Giving back to the community and others is a wonderful idea for an alcohol-free holiday. For example, you could volunteer at a nursing home, soup kitchen, food pantry, or holiday toy drive. Just pick something that interests you.
Check Out Alumni Events at Your Rehab Center
Many rehab centers will host holiday alum events to provide options for those in recovery who want to avoid drugs and alcohol during the holiday season. There can be game nights, outdoor activities, friendly sports competitions, potluck meals, and more to help you have a fun time and remain sober.
Start Your Own Holiday Traditions
There is no reason why you cannot start new holiday traditions that do not involve alcohol. For example, you could take up baking and bake up your favorite holiday treats. You might want to try building and decorating an elaborate gingerbread house.
Take a Holiday Vacation
There’s no rule that requires you to remain in town and spend the holidays with your family. Nor do you have to accept and attend every holiday party invite you receive. Sometimes the best way to get out of holiday commitments and maintain your sobriety is to take a holiday vacation.
There are plenty of all-inclusive and alcohol-free resorts you can choose from all around the world. These include meditation retreats, spa resorts, all-inclusive adventure packages, and sports experiences.
Benefits of Celebrating Alcohol-Free Holidays
The most significant benefit you gain is maintaining your sobriety. Other benefits you gain include:
- Being present and in the moment to truly enjoy the holidays.
- Not having to deal with family drama or being stressed.
- Being able to plan the holidays doing the things you want to do – not what others want you to do.
- Not being pressured into drinking by others who do not understand the disease of addiction.
Get Help for Alcohol-Free Holidays in Columbus, OH
When you want to maintain your sobriety during the holidays but feel like you could relapse, remember you are not alone. At Ohio Addiction Recovery Center in Columbus, OH, we are here to help you maintain your sobriety during the holidays. Contact us today.