Getting through the holidays can be difficult for anyone new to sobriety. Here are five tips on how to get through the holidays without using.
1. Avoid triggers: Turn off the news, including electronic devices, and do your best to stay out of any family drama for five extra minutes per day. Just reminding yourself that these can be these triggers for you can be very helpful, especially over the holidays. Find a way to step outside, take a few deep breaths, maybe go for a brisk walk.
2. Let go of false perceptions: The holidays can bring out anxiousness, even fears for many people. There’s the expectation about having the perfect setting, the perfect gifts, the perfect family – the kind you see in idyllic seasonal advertisements. This is not the how things in the real world are, how real families are. And that’s okay. Getting through the day sober, being kind to yourself as well as your family can be enough to weather Thanksgiving Day, Christmas day or any day.
3. Have an Escape Route: If there is a social event you can’t avoid go a little later, leave a little earlier and bring a sober friend if possible. Always make sure if you came by car that the car is not blocked in when you need to leave.
4. Keep Sober Numbers on Speed Dial: Calling another sober person is one of the best ways to get help on a moment’s notice, when you need it most. If you are newly sober or your family doesn’t “get it,” it’s good to know that most communities have support lines available. Chittenden County, for example, has AA and NA hotlines answered by local people. If you are in the area, add these numbers to your contact list: Burlington, Vt., AA Hotline 802-447-1285. Burlington, Vt., NA Hotline: Hotline 802-862-4516
5. Visit a Local Recovery Center: Many communities have recovery centers open daily that provide a safe, sober oasis. Burlington, Vt., has the Turning Point Center of Chittenden County. TPCCC is open daily with recovery coaches, meetings, family support, yoga and more. And Turning Point Center of Chittenden County is open and staffed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Finally, if you are not sober yet, maybe this year you can give yourself the biggest gift of all: A safe way to start your journey toward sobriety. Need a bed? Call Act 1 at the Howard Center: 802-488-6000.
Never give up on yourself. Never.