addiction during the holidays

Addiction During Holidays: Coping During Holidays and Special Occasions

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Many times, holidays and special occasions involve alcohol. St. Patrick’s Day, birthday parties, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, weddings and anniversaries, work holiday parties, family Christmas as well as New Year’s can be very intimidating times for those early in recovery. While many previously used these holidays as an excuse to amplify their already heightened alcohol consumption, it can feel as if there is a void without the use of alcohol to enjoy these occasions. If you are dealing with an addiction during holidays, here are some tools that might help.

Addiction During Holidays Help Checklist:

  • Make plans with sober friends, or those who know and support your sobriety,
  • If attending an event with alcohol, like a Labor Day barbeque or pool party, make sure to bring something non-alcoholic to drink like sparkling water, soda, or kombucha
  • Check in with your support system, tell someone when you will be arriving and when you’ll be leaving the event, and check in with them after,
  • Make sure you are emotionally well enough to attend, sometimes avoiding participation can be the safest option until you feel more secure,
  • See how you can help the host or hostess, offer to be of service,
  • Bring games or activities for everyone to play,
  • Drive yourself to the event so you can leave if you need to,
  • Make sure you practice self-care so you are prepared and relaxed.

The Question

Many people dread being asked why they aren’t drinking at gatherings, particularly when in years past they were the biggest drinker in the room. Here are a few tips if you aren’t ready to share about your sobriety.

  • “I’m the designated driver today.”
  • “It doesn’t agree with me, and I don’t want to feel sick.”
  • “I’ve got an early start in the morning.”
  • “I’m trying to treat my body better.”
  • “I can have a good time without it.”

And always, a simple “I’m not drinking today” is a perfectly acceptable answer.

Enjoy the occasion by going prepared and you might find you’re able to help others feel comfortable too. Recovery is a lifestyle, it is just a matter of shifting a few behaviors and ideas!

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If you or your family is struggling with addiction in Fresno, California, and surrounding areas, we at First Steps Recovery are committed to providing quality care for all our patients to help them get over their addiction and regain their life. Call us today at 844-489-0836 to speak to us.


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