Need help to cope with the holidays? Throughout the year there are many events such as weddings, birthdays and work parties that can make for difficult choices for someone who is in recovery. The holiday season always means more events and more temptation. Once in recovery, these types of events can be risky situations for maintaining sobriety. Just like the Boy Scouts say, it is important to be prepared. Don’t let these situations catch you off guard or jeopardize your recovery. Here are a few tips for these events:

Be honest with yourself: Which situations/events are higher risk to your sobriety? Make an honest and thorough assessment of all possible risks and issues that may be present and how you can cope with them. Some situations you many want to avoid for a while.

Have support: Bring a friend or identify someone who is attending that you feel safe with. This way you will ensure someone else is there to support you.

Check-In: Step away from the situation at regular intervals and call a friend, sponsor or someone else in recovery. You should not wait for a problem to develop before you call.

Prepare answers: If you recently left an inpatient rehab, people may be curious about it or ask why you were away. It is up to you what you share. Do not feel obligated to divulge information you would rather keep private. Prepare some answer so that you are not feeling put on the spot.

Keep a drink in your hand: Soda, water, juice, whatever. People are less likely to offer you a drink if you already have one. They do not need to know it is non-alcoholic.

Plan a way out: Have a plan that will allow you to leave for another commitment. Identify a support meeting in the area during that time. If going with a friend, decide on a code word beforehand to signal you want to leave.

So, what is the overall message?

Plan, plan, plan! It is better to have a safety plan and not need it, than to need one and not have it. You worked hard on your recovery and you deserve to have the best chance possible to maintain it!


Addiction Counsellor C.C.A.C, BA
Behavioural Psychology