Have a Sober Strategy
After you have identified and examined the people, places, and things that may be more challenging during the holidays, develop a specific plan to protect your recovery in each instance. There are many options to consider as you plan for holiday events and activities. Here are some suggestions:
1) Increase Meetings. If you attend recovery meetings or other form of group support, increasing the number of meetings you attend is one proactive way to stay extra connected to your recovery community. Sometimes “bookending” a difficult event or gathering with a recovery or support group meeting is a good idea; go to a meeting before the event and after the event to give your recovery that extra boost.
2) Bring a Friend. Don’t go it alone if you don’t have to! Bring a sober friend or other support person with you to holiday parties and events.
3) Check In. Develop a “check-in” plan to help you be accountable during the holiday season (or at a specific event) and choose someone who can be available to you if you need to take quick action.
4) Have an Exit Strategy. Hope for the best, but plan for any contingency! Having an exit strategy for events, family gatherings, or any activity outside your normal routine is essential. You can’t always predict how you will feel, so it’s important to be able to gracefully step away if needed. Bring your own transportation or have someone on stand-by who can pick you up.
5) Politely Decline. Sometimes the best option is to stay away. If it doesn’t feel right, or there is doubt that a plan will keep things safe, politely decline. This is easier said than done, sometimes, as others may not fully understand why you aren’t coming or apply pressure to attend, but this is a time to prioritize your own needs and wellness.