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Monday, December 7, 2015

3 Ways to Stay Sober During Holiday Parties

3 ways to stay sober during holiday partiesFor many people, the holiday season is filled with high expectations, social commitments, and stressful shopping lists. For men and women working their way through addiction recovery, managing holiday stress is critical to sobriety success. When it comes to holiday party invitations, keep in mind the following tips as you prioritize your recovery over a fleeting temptation to drink or use:

1. Choose events wisely. Turn down invitations to parties where you will face multiple triggers (people, places, substances) that may be difficult to fend off. You are not obligated to attend every event you are invited to, so don’t feel pressured to say, “yes” if you are uncomfortable. If you decide to attend an event, take an accountability partner with you: someone who supports your sobriety and is willing to have a tough conversation if necessary. Also, develop an exit plan in case the temptation becomes too much to bear. After all you’ve worked for, it’s far better to cut the party short than risk a relapse.

2. Rehearse a script for saying “no.” Chances are at some point you will be offered a drink, a smoke, or something stronger at a holiday party. Before the conversation arises, develop a script that you can handily recall. Sometimes all you need to do is politely decline the substance. If the host persists, request a club soda instead—or let them know that you don’t drink for health reasons. If inquiries continue and the party turns into a high-pressure situation, it’s time to make an exit.

3. Attend bookend meetings. Whether you are part of a non-12-step or traditional 12-step group, it’s wise to plan a meeting or sponsor contact before and after the party. The first meeting prepares you to be strong, and gives you the opportunity to tell others where you are going. Attend the second meeting or check in with group members after your party so they can hold you accountable to your post-party sobriety promise.

Reclaim Your Holiday Peace
The holiday season is one of the most challenging times to pursue addiction rehab, but it’s an important time to remember that you are empowered—to say, “no,” to be thankful for your recovery, and to surround yourself with sober supporters who want the best for you.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed during the holidays, reach out to an addiction specialist, counselor, or support group. With the help of wise decisions and accountability partners, you will emerge from the holiday season proud of yourself—and hopeful about reclaiming a life of health and self-control.

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