Growing up there was no alcohol in the house – actually there still isn’t. It’s a house rule that my family made long before I was even around and we still honor it today.
Having grown up without being around alcohol, I had no idea how much alcohol and holidays go hand in hand until I was an adult. It doesn’t matter how many times I have to pass or say no when someone asks me if I want a drink – it’s always hard and it’s always awkward. Peer pressure isn’t just in high school folks.
As Christmas and New Year’s approaches, I began to wonder how sober alcoholics navigate the holiday season; especially with the stress of the holidays and extra pressure from family and friends. It can’t be easy… and if you are a sober alcoholic or you know someone who is an alcoholic, Here’s 16 ways to protect yourself against temptation and peer pressure.
- Have an escape plan. Bring your own vehicle or be aware of available public transportation near the holiday event so you can remove yourself from the temptation if necessary.
- Have support ready. Ask another sober alcoholic to be “on call” so you can check in with them during the event for additional support.
- Have accountability. Let someone you trust who will be at the holiday event know that you may need additional support during this occasion or this time of the year.
- Find a cup. Find a drink that is non-alcoholic so you’re holding something. It may prevent people from offering you an alcoholic drink.
- Have a response ready. “Why aren’t you drinking tonight?” “I don’t drink anymore”, “I am not drinking tonight”, “I am on medication and cannot have alcohol”, “I am the designated driver tonight,” etc.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. This isn’t about turning down a drink. This is about turning down an event that you might not need/want to be at. Prevent yourself from falling into temptation.
- Take care of yourself! Be sure to have get enough sleep, eat regularly, exercise, relax, etc. Temptation is harder to fight if you’re not feeling your best.
- Make your own traditions. Find new holiday activities that do not include drinking alcohol. Examples include: volunteering at a soup kitchen, go ice skating, have a sober get-together and gift exchange, see a movie, take a trip, etc.
- Don’t over extend. Be sure to give yourself time off and take care of yourself. Schedule therapy, meetings or anything else that will help you fight temptation.
- Work extra hours if you need something to distract yourself.
- Put your sobriety first. Realize that not everyone may understand what this looks like, but it’s your job to make it priority one.
- Say no to foods that may have been cooked in/with alcohol. No rum cake!
- Attend a meeting. A.A. has “alcathons” that involve 24 hours of meetings, food, socializing at designated locations on Thanksgiving Eve, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Contact your local A.A. Intergroup for more information.
- Don’t be ashamed. If you’re having a hard time, let your loved ones know and explain how they can support you.
- Remember that “this too shall pass.” The holidays don’t last forever! You can make it through!
- No matter how you are feeling, just don’t drink!
Nichole is a Social Media Marketing Manager, student, daughter and friend. She has a Marketing Diploma and a Certificate of Christian Theology. She is an avid coffee lover who enjoys a good movie or book. She takes great joy in organizing, scheduling, and volunteering. Her passion for volunteerism extends specifically to those who are hurting, whether it is emotionally, physically, or mentally.
Nichole is certified to provide Mental Health First Aid, which means she can provide immediate support and guidance in a safe environment, comfortably have a conversation about mental health related issues and offer professional and other supports. This does NOT make Nichole a psychologist, or a counselor. It simply gives her the tools to direct people to the help they need.