When the holidays come around, it can be harder for people to stick to goals surrounding drinking. Between work parties, family dinners, and getting together with friends, let’s face it: Alcohol is everywhere during this time of year. Some people are recovering from addiction to alcohol, while others choose not to drink for health reasons. This is the time of year to be cautious because it’s easy to fall into the trap of drinking too much alcohol. 1 Corinthians 10:12 (New Living Translation, NLT) warns, “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.
If your goal is to not drink, here are 8 drama-free ways to get through the holidays alcohol-free.
1. Find a sober friend to support you.
Before going to a party or night out where alcohol may be present, invite a friend who doesn’t drink—or plans to not drink that night—to go. This is a drama-free way to get support if the temptation to drink gets too hard or overwhelming. If your friend or accountability partner can’t go, call in with them during the party to check in with them.
2. Set boundaries beforehand.
Be comfortable communicating boundaries. Before attending an event where people may offer alcohol, set a limit by telling them, “I can go, but please don’t ask me to drink because I’ve given up alcohol. If it is too tempting, I may have to leave early.”
3. Don’t give up because you slipped up.
It’s not uncommon for someone in recovery from alcohol addiction to have a relapse. All too often, a person in recovery may see relapse as a reason to give up and throw in the towel altogether…don’t! Instead, see a slip-up as a temporary, not a moral failure. If you do relapse, call an accountability partner, friend, or counselor as soon as possible to let them know what happened.
4. Give yourself permission to say ‘no’ to going to parties where alcohol will be served.
If going to a party where alcohol is going to be served and the temptation might be too much, feel free to simply say “no” to the party invitation. There’s no need to give an excuse or explanation.
5. Double up on going to Life Recovery Group meetings.
To stay accountable to others and to talk about some of the struggles of the holiday season, plan to attend a couple of recovery meetings every week by attending a Life Recovery Group. There are hundreds of groups to choose from—many are online and on different days and times. Find a group here.
6. Identify and avoid your triggers.
Many people feel anxious and overwhelmed at Christmas. In fact, 64 percent of individuals who struggle with mental health issues say that the holidays make things worse for them, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Recognize what your triggers are and find healthy ways to deal with them. So, if finances are a struggle, create a budget and stick with it, even if it means letting others know an expensive gift is not in your budget.
7. Avoid visual reminders at restaurants.
Out of sight means out of mind. Standing away from the bar in a restaurant and choosing a spot at the table looking away from it can help. It is also acceptable to let the host or hostess seating you know to seat you further away from the bar.
8. Remember your why.
One of the most drama-free ways to get through the holidays alcohol-free is to remember why you decided not to drink in the first place. Spend some time praying to ask God for wisdom, and be sure to ask yourself, “Why do I want to stop drinking?” Perhaps you want to stop drinking because you’ve gotten in trouble with the law due to alcohol, or maybe your doctor pointed out that drinking is creating health problems for you. Whatever the motivation is to stop drinking alcohol, write down why you want to stop. Then, when you’re tempted to drink, pull it out and look at it.
by Kimberlee Bousman