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8 Tips for Mental Preparation to Stay Sober for the Holidays

Be Ready for Sober Holidays with Tips from Fresh Start of California

Whether you are fresh out of detox and rehabilitation or have several years under your belt, the holidays can be a difficult time for a recovering addict. It’s crucial to be prepared, both mentally and emotionally so that the feelings and activities that come with the holidays do not catch you off guard. Your sobriety should be your biggest priority as you attend family gatherings and holiday events, and it helps to be reminded of how to mentally prepare.

If you are ready to leap sobriety this holiday season, the team at Fresh Start of California can help. Our Orange County detox and rehabilitation professionals will work with you to provide tools and teach the skills that will help you reenter society in sobriety.

Contact Fresh Start of California to ask for help. We are here 24/7 to take your call.

8 Tips to Tackle the Holidays

Feel confident in your sobriety and be prepared for anything that crosses your path during the holidays using the tips below.

  1. Know your triggers. Consider making a list of your known triggers and ways to handle them. Think of the triggers that may be involved with the holidays, family interactions, and gatherings and how you can avoid or walk away from them. Triggers are people, events, objects, or thoughts that can cause a memory of using or coping through use. These are quite often part of the holidays as trauma in our youth may revisit us during family time.
  2. Be informed. Knowing what is coming concerning activities, get-togethers, and holiday obligations can help you mentally prepare. Ask questions about who is going to attend, what will be served, and what expectations will be placed upon you can inform your decisions about your involvement. Do not say yes if you believe that something is going to threaten your sobriety.
  3. Plan your good-byes. Plan for your escape if things get out-of-hand or too rowdy. Let the host know that if you leave early, it is to protect your sobriety, and have a “sober buddy” to back you up if needed. Supportive family and friends can help field questions as to why you had to leave.
  4. Know the science. If you face temptation or triggers and do not want to leave (avoid) due to their existence, know that you can make it through using this research-based concept: Cravings will typically subside or lose their power after 10 minutes. Use these challenges to evaluate your triggers and the emotions attached to them. The more you investigate the emotions, the less power you give the trigger.
  5. Stress less. Use stress relief techniques so that you can enjoy your holiday with a clear, calm mind. Try meditation, journaling, walks, yoga, mind games (memory games, crosswords, math games), or use your smartphone to listen to calming meditations or podcasts.
  6. Set sober dates. Plan to attend meetings either alone or with a sober partner. Know where the local meetings are if you are away from home and hold yourself accountable by planning to go with someone. You can even make phone dates or Zoom dates if in-person meetings are unavailable.
  7. Seek professional help. It is never wrong to seek help from those who know more than you or from those who are educated and experienced in helping people. Seek professional help if the holidays are an especially difficult time for you. Contact the local addiction and recovery facilities, place a phone call to your doctor to find a therapist, or try online or phone therapy services.
  8. Be honest. Tell your supportive family members and friends about how you are feeling. Be vocal about your concerns and triggers so that they can be there to help you. Expressing yourself to those who care is highly beneficial in creating a safe and healthy environment, for the holidays and your future.

Mental Preparation is Your Power Move this Holiday Season

Your power lies in the tools that are in your metaphorical tool belt. The things that you learn and the changes you make during recovery give you strength and power that can move mountains. Sobriety is something that you can be proud of, and even when the holidays pose a threat, mentally preparing will keep the ball in your court. Use the tips above, and don’t be ashamed to ask for back up or help, and you’ll have an enjoyable and memorable holiday season.

Let the Orange County team of recovery experts at Fresh Start of California give you the support you need to be successful in sobriety. We are here to walk with you through detox and rehabilitation. Contact us today.