Once you realize that drinking is causing problems in your life and you want to make a change, it can be challenging… especially around the holidays. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of an intense (but fun) festive season. So many people are out and about getting everything ready for their big celebrations, running around and making lists! Sometimes we forget that the most important thing to prepare for is your mental health!
So, what is your plan? How are you going to deal with your family or friends that know the right buttons to push to knock you off your beam? Planning is crucial for people who have problems with substance abuse disorder, especially around this time of year because fortunately or unfortunately, if you don’t have a plan you can very easily get off track and revert back to your destructive ways.
My recommendations for a sober holiday season are easy:
1. Have your own means of transportation. Whether that means having a car on hand or money in your pocket to take an Uber or public transportation!
2. What is your story of why you are leaving? “I have to run, a friend just reached out that needs me.” Or “I am letting my neighbor’s dog out,” “I promised my neighbor I would feed their pet.” You want the reason to sound legitimate and, most importantly, you want it to be about you and not about the host of the occasion.
3. Set a boundary for yourself. If you get to the party and start to feel badly, leave! Don’t let anyone talk you into something that isn’t good for you.
4. Make other plans! If it is too much to go to the event in the first place, I recommend going to the movies, the gym or shopping. You don’t have to spend money to walk around the mall and look in the windows – and believe me, it can be a great distraction!
5. Make sure that you feel okay. This decision you made is about you and no one else!
6. Prayer works! Even if your prayer is one word: “Help!” or “Please!”
7. Make a gratitude list before you get out of bed and before you go to sleep! It takes no time to write and it can be three things or ten! There are no real rules here.
8. Reserve judgement! No judging allowed…acceptance is key! You can change some things but most of the time, all you can change is you.
9. Celebrate yourself. Each day you don’t use is HUGE!!!! You are a winner!
10. Love you!
Take it easy and most importantly, remember this is just one day!