The holidays can be a joyous time of year, but it can also trigger a lot of stress. There are many celebrations, social events and possible opportunities where triggers and temptations could arise. Whether or not it is your first time navigating the holidays sober, it’s always a great idea to know what may come, and that includes having a plan in place so that you don’t slip into a relapse.

Make a plan and prepare

Just like the rest of the year, it is important to take your sobriety one day at a time. Waking up in the morning with a plan on how to stay sober the rest of the day is important, especially during the holiday season where celebrations are rampant.

Have an exit strategy

It’s a good idea to have a plan to be able to leave a party early in the event that you may be feeling too overwhelmed with triggers, temptations and questions. You could prepare such things as faking another engagement that you need to attend, needing leave early so you can wake up early the next day for an appointment, or texting a friend to call you and encourage you to leave. In addition, make sure to not agree to be the “designated driver” for any friends or family, because this would force you to stay until the end of the party. Make sure you make yourself the priority.

Bring safe food and drinks

At holiday events, it could be difficult to find something to eat drink when everyone is indulging and overwhelmingly drinking alcohol. It can be beneficial for you to bring your own juice or sparkling cider. A safe drink like this could help you feel part of the celebration without breaking your sobriety. On the same note, bringing a safe food that you enjoy can help ease nerves, especially if you are trying to eat healthy. If you are constantly eating poor food choices to deal with the stress of the holidays, it could cause further depression, irritability and weight gain. Make sure you stay on track so that you don’t have any extra distractions.

Plan what you will say to people

Around the holidays, we usually see people that we haven’t seen throughout the rest of the year such as cousins, aunts or friends. This is especially true if you’ve been away at treatment during the year and are newly sober. Being prepared and ready to answer questions such as how your year has been, how you’re doing and whether or not you’d like anything to drink will help you feel less awkward when they arise, and more confident about socializing. Opening up about whether or not you are in recovery is your choice, so make sure you have some answers prepared for when these questions and conversations inevitably arise.

Do what you can to lower stress

While staying sober is your number one priority, it is just as important to not let your self care fall to the wayside. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and are eating healthy are simple ways to deal with the stress of the holiday season. It’s also important to exercise to let out extra stress and get those endorphins going. Doing what you can to lower stress may also include not attending some events all together. If you feel as if you may not be able to handle a particular event, avoiding it this year may be the best option until you are more comfortable in your sobriety.

Lean on your sober support system

Being the only one at a holiday party who is not drinking can be lonely and stressful until you get used to it. A great way to combat this is to make sure to lean on your sober support system. This can include bringing a sober companion to your holiday events. It can also mean skipping all the regular parties you might attend this year in favor for the ones taking place in your sober community so that you can ease back into your social life. Also, make sure you voice any concerns you may be having to your sober community so that they can help lift you up. Listen to the advice of people who have been where you are so that you can learn tips that will make this time of year easier and easier.

About Cliffside Malibu

While seeing family and friends at different holiday events is important, your sobriety is more important. We understand that it can be difficult to adhere to sobriety during the holiday season, but we want you to know that we are here for you every step of the way.

Each patient is then matched with one of these five stages of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change. This process is in place to ensure that all our patients receive the best treatment path possible for their own specific need. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage.

It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.

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