Christmas can be a challenging time for those who are newly sober. It can seem as if the whole world is getting drunk at this time of year, meaning you may have to deal with a lot more temptation than usual. The other risk is that you may start to feel left out of the festivities, leading to self-pity that would then become an excuse to relapse.
The reality is that this Christmas could be the best one ever despite the fact that no alcohol will pass your lips. Here are just a few tips for how you can have fan while staying sober over the holiday season.
Throw Yourself into the Recovery Meetings
Recovery meetings can be a fantastic type of support at this time of year, and you can find that they are fun to as well. You can learn from the experiences of others who are staying sober over the holiday season, and you see what they do to have some fun. There will often be an opportunity to socialise after the meetings, which can be a nice thing to do at this time of year. If you do not enjoy Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, there are also other options such as SMART Recovery – you can use more than one type of group if you want. By going to more meetings at this time of year, you will find it strengthens your sobriety and keeps you motivated, meaning that you will be better able to deal with any pressure to drink.
Go to Some Christmas Recovery Parties
If you live in a large town, you should find that there will be some Christmas parties in December arranged by groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous – you do not have to be a member just to attend. These events are great fun, and they are safe to attend because they are completely alcohol-free. It can be a wonderful experience to dance the night away without having to be intoxicated with alcohol.
Create Some Sober Christmas Traditions
You probably have many Christmas traditions that you associate with drinking alcohol. Maybe you traditionally get drunk on Christmas Eve, or you have a champagne breakfast on Christmas morning. These rituals are habits, giving your Christmas meaning. If you do not replace these traditions with new ones, you will likely continue to feel that you are missing out on something. There are endless sober traditions that you can begin this year – maybe you will start your Christmas Day with an hour of yoga or meditation, or maybe you will get in the habit of going for a walk in nature after your Christmas dinner. It will not be long before these new traditions replace the old ones, making this time of year special for you again.
Use Christmas as a Time of Reflection
The fact that Christmas is at the end of the year means that it can be the perfect time to do some reflection. If you use the 12-step programme, you could use this as an opportunity to perform a moral inventory in which you assess your behaviour over the last 12 months – what did you get right, what did you do better? It can also be a nice idea to do some journaling and put together a gratitude list.
Enjoy a Mindful Christmas
Mindfulness is a powerful tool over the holiday period. It not only helps you deal with cravings and negative thinking, but it also helps you experience the specialness of the time of year. Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment without resistance. It means that you are truly experiencing your life instead of going through the motions on autopilot.