The holidays are a time for celebration, love and laughter. Yet for many addicts and alcoholics, particularly those new in recovery, the holidays can be a struggle.

Festive gatherings can bring up deep feelings and emotions for individuals in recovery, which can hinder their ability to be available to themselves and their friends and family. Previously, these feelings have led the alcoholic/addict to drink in order to cope with them.

So the question is, how can individuals in recovery celebrate the holidays? Here are a few tips we suggest for coping with holiday triggers and stress at gatherings.

  1. Always have a non-alcoholic drink in hand at a gathering. Nothing is worse than feeling left out. To be apart of a celebration, it means the recovering individual understands those around him or her may be drinking. In order to prevent relapse, having a non-alcoholic beverage in-hand keeps the recovering addict/alcoholic feeling less uncomfortable.
  2. Bring a list of phone numbers, and have full phone battery charge. People to call are essential for difficult moments. Having someone to talk to like a recovery coach or a person in a support network can make all the difference when those difficult feelings arise.
  3.  Always Have a Way Out. If the party gets uncomfortable for the recovering alcoholic/addict, then they should be able to have a way to leave. If triggers arise during the gathering, it’s sometimes best to stay a short while and then leave early.
  4. The recovering person should bring a sober companion/friend. Having on-hand support, like that of a recovery coach or someone who understands the process may help make the situation feel more relaxed.

These simple tips as well as sticking close to a support network can remedy almost any holiday challenge.

We wish everyone a happy and safe and recovering holiday season.