Change people, places, and HOLIDAYS

So here it is you have made the decision to pursue sobriety. You’ve changed people, no more hanging with drinking buddies. You’ve changed places. Had the strength to not go to your favorite bar. Strength to not accept the happy hour offers or wine tastings. You are a warrior slaying triggers left and right. Your IG  account is a veritable field of lavender induced inspiration. Your friends admire your resolve and dedication. You are there you are in recovery, but what the hell is this the HOLIDAYS!!! This you know could make or break you. The anxiety of attending office Christmas parties and family get togethers. How on earth will you abstain? How will you feel watching your family drink and that one uncle who always has too much. The aunt who says, “Oh a lil wine never hurt anyone.” Maybe you are like me and your family is just a big trigger. Are you the black sheep they will surely make the butt of all jokes. Isn’t it weird how family can be our harshest critics? I’ll cut them some slack though they are probably the people we hurt the most in addiction, but you deserve to be supported no matter the time of year.

So lets get to the point. Maybe it’s time you changed the holidays? Make them your own. Politely bow out and do something that will help you. My opinion is if they truly love you they will be around all year long. I made the decision to spend the holidays with my son. Yes the guilt trips flowed in…..how could I be so selfish? How could I hurt the family like that? Well self preservation  is not selfish. So my son and I take a trip. We get alone time and pick a location with sober friends. We have made  our own holiday which is my right and everyone’s right who is in recovery. Our obligations are to ourselves and our recovery. Yes it takes some fortitude to break the news, stick to it, and take the flack. I just want my readers to know it’s ok to say NO. NO is a complete sentence.

Ok, now for those who do choose to participate which for some they love family get together’s and Christmas time. It really is great seeing everyone laughing and catching up. As someone in recovery pack you sober tool kit. First, if alcohol is a factor in the event bring your own beverages. Sparkling cider if you think there will be a toast. Research some fun mocktails and who knows maybe your family will like them too. If you are hosting it is your right to decide if you will allow beer and wine, or not. Two, have an exit strategy. Drive separately, have cab fare or uber on your phone. There is no shame in bowing out early and if they support you they will understand. I personally can’t stand most people after they have had 2 drinks. I like to arrive to things very early so I can say hi to everyone and leave without feeling like I forgot anyone. Third, and this is a big one you decide the narrative on your recovery. Does everyone need to know…absolutely not! I hate when I’m offered a drink and not given the chance to say no, because someone else declares, “She doesn’t drink.” Ugh…….so to the family who is aware let them know your comfort level as far as discussion of your recovery.

This is a hard time of year and one that comes with a lot of obligations that lead to stress. Be kind to yourselves. Add some extra quite time to your routine. Cut back on holiday spending and presents so you can actually enjoy the holiday and not end up in a finacial hole, no one likes that stress. Spending hangovers suck. Keep a mental checklist of your needs and make sure you continue your self care during a time that we all too often focus on others. Happy Holidays everyone!!!

 

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