The holidays can be particularly stressful time of year! Create a safety plan around holiday parties / family events.
Sobriety strategies can include:
- Limiting your time in stressful situations or around difficult people. Have an exit strategy (come late, leave early).
- Bookending your recovery efforts.
- Talk to your support system (e.g. sponsor) before and after the event.
- Go to a 12-step, SMART, Refuge, or Dhama recovery meeting before and/or after the party.
- Bringing a sober friend with you to the party.
- Finding a non-alcoholic beverage that gives you something to drink and an easy reason to reject offers of other alcoholic beverages.
– Always ask yourself –
*What’s the next right thing for me to do in this situation?*
You don’t owe anyone an explanation, but some people may have questions. Prepare a reason for why you aren’t drinking. You can give as many or as few details as you like:
- “I just decided to not drink this evening.”
- “It’s part of my early new year’s resolution.”
- “I am in recovery and it’s awesome.”
Have an awareness of the people, places or things that could trigger trouble. Remember everyone you encounter is probably feeling tired and stressed during the holidays too. Lower your expectations and be forgiving of yourself and others.
Talk with your support system about the emotions and expectations you have wrapped up in the holidays. Feel the feels, be vulnerable, and be honest.
Practice self-care. Proper nutrition, exercise, and restorative sleep are key—the better you feel physically, the stronger you will be emotionally
Remember that you are not alone this holiday season. Over 23 million adults living in the U.S. once had substance problems, but no longer do (Source: The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and The New York. State Office. Of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services).
Here is Dr. Joy Ryba, Founder and Clinical Director of Midwest Counseling & Diagnostics in Chicago, talking more about how to create a safety plan around holiday parties and family events.
Facts About Alcohol Use and the Holidays:
- The average American consumes double the amount of alcoholic drinks over the holidays than any other time of year. (Source: OnePoll)
- The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States notes that a quarter of the $49-billion-a-year distilled spirits industry’s profits come from the month between Thanksgiving and the New Year.
- The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that two to three times as many people die on Christmas and New Year’s in alcohol-related accidents than during comparable periods throughout the rest of the year. An alcohol-impaired driver is involved in over 40 percent of traffic fatalities during the holidays.
- A report issued by Alcohol Monitoring Systems that found that over 450,000 monitored DUI offenders increased their drinking rates by 33 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day even though they knew they were being monitored around the clock to test their alcohol consumption.
Midwest Counseling & Diagnostic Center, an outpatient group mental health practice in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, can offer support. Our extensively trained, highly skilled therapists are down-to-earth, non-judgmental, and committed to helping you find the path forward on your journey. For more information on alcohol and substance use recovery support offered by Midwest Counseling, please contact Rose Metivier: firstname.lastname@example.org.