Craving a drink around the Holidays isn’t just about coping with the added stress or loneliness so many of us experience around this joyous time of year. But it’s also a challenge just to be around the entire culture of drinking during frequent get togethers. If you’re a recovering alcoholic, like myself, it’s difficult to not want to join the party. So how do we cope with situations like this?
Dr. Kathy Shafer, a therapist in Jupiter, Florida, suggests you come up with a plan ahead of time and be realistic about your own expectations. Remember that you’re not the only one who gets stressed during this time of year. That realization alone can help keep things in perspective.
Avoid situations (or people) you know are going to be a hassle. If the same person in your office hounds you every year about your sobriety at the Holiday party, avoid them all-together. And if you know that your friends gathering is always a drunken fest, don’t go.
Use a prop. Find something special to sip on during these events, non-alcoholic of course. I’ve been known to drink club soda with cranberry and a lime in a small glass. It puts something in my hand and allows me to “join the party” without falling off the wagon. Plus, no one will constantly be asking you if you want something to drink.
If the stress and cravings get to be too much, leave early. Staying sober is your number one priority. If you need to make some kind of a showing, drop by, say your hellos and then gracefully bow out early. Better yet, if you know it’s going to be a major drunken fest, avoid it all-together.
Find something else to do. There are so many opportunities to give back and be of service this time of year. Whether you help a neighbor or put your time in at the local shelter, connecting with and helping others makes us feel good and helps strengthen our own recovery.
Lastly, and most importantly, stay vigilant about going to meetings and keep in touch with your sponsor or friend who understands what you’re going through.