“How to get Through the Holidays Clean and Sober”
For recovering alcoholics and addicts, the holidays can be a rough time. Especially in early recovery when you can be more vulnerable to going out. This time of year has been called the Bermuda triangle for clean and sober people. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve can be dangerous times for newcomers, or anyone for that matter. Lots of stress and expectations. Party, party, party!
I do not have any family around and don’t know that many people in recovery. Should I just hide out at home on the holidays?
I would think staying home with a good book (or the “Big Book”) or a movie would be better than going out to slippery places with people who might not be supportive of your recovery. If you hang out with the old crowd you could find yourself back where you started before treatment.
However, in just about every town and city in the country there will be places you can go to be involved and not alone. AA and NA always have marathon meetings in many locations, such as Alano clubs and meeting halls, running all day and often throughout the night.
Many local recovery groups and meetings have their own special gatherings, that are all inclusive. Everyone is welcome. So you need not be alone over the holidays.
I am going back home for the holidays. I’m newly sober and very nervous about being with family that drink. How do I answer the questions that will come up?
The first thing you need to do is ask yourself if you are ready for this. If not, you can make that difficult call and let them know honestly you are not quite ready yet. They may not understand, however you need to take care of your recovery first or there may not be any family holidays to be concerned about in the future.
When you do go, be sure and get the phone numbers of some of your new friends in recovery before you leave. If things get uncomfortable and you feel tempted to drink or use, you can go to a private place and call someone and tell them what’s going on. You may be surprised at how much this could help.
Some families are supportive and might allow you to open up about whatever you feel is comfortable for you. That first time scenario may not be too stressful. There are plenty of families however where it might not be safe to be around when first sober. This is one of those areas where a sponsor comes in handy. Use the tools you learned in treatment and meetings. Including prayer for direction and power to stay clean and sober throughout.
There is another name for this coming New Year’s Eve, it’s called Sunday.