With winter quickly approaching, the holiday season is in full swing. Holidays are a chance to connect with family and loved ones, but for those in recovery, sober holidays can be difficult. While 19.7 million Americans struggle with a substance abuse disorder, addiction, or alcoholism annually, even more, Americans are actively recovering. In fact, 10% of Americans, or more than 23 million adults, are recovering from a substance abuse disorder every year. So, if you are trying to celebrate sober holidays, you are far from alone. While the holidays can mean catching up with loved ones, many times, sober holidays can be difficult because many holiday parties include alcohol. The prevalence of alcohol during holiday celebrations is especially high during the winter months, as nearly half of adults binge drink on New Year’s.
Alcohol, Addiction and Holidays
Alcohol use and binge drinking is a popular way to celebrate special days, especially during the winter holidays. In fact, more people binge drink on New Year’s than any other holiday. Another 23% of men and 18% of women binge drink during the winter holidays, which includes Thanksgiving and New Year’s. When you struggle with a substance abuse disorder, addiction, or drinking problem, holidays can be especially dangerous. Since substance abuse disorders can damage your relationships, many times, holidays are spent abusing drugs or alcohol during active addiction. When you are in recovery, especially in the early stages, it can be hard to celebrate sober holidays. Holidays can also serve as a trigger, especially for those with traumatic upbringings or dysfunctional families. The increased stress and conflict can intensify cravings and make it hard to avoid drugs and alcohol during the holidays. Another risk of relapsing during holidays is that many bars, restaurants, and events include substances like alcohol during holiday parties. Alcohol can serve as a major trigger, making it best to make plans in advance so you can enjoy celebrating sober holidays.
How to Celebrate Sober Holidays
One of the best ways to enjoy sober holidays is to make plans with friends and family members who are either in recovery or who don’t use drugs or alcohol. You can also make plans with your sponsor or members of your local recovery community. Other ways that you can enjoy sober holidays include:
- Going to dry bars
- Planning a game night
- Going to the movie theater
- Attending events at your place of worship
If you are planning to attend family events or parties with friends, it is a good idea to drive yourself just in case the event has alcohol or drugs. Driving yourself, or using a ride-share service, ensures you have a way to leave if alcohol or other triggers are present.
Reaching Out for Help Today
When you are actively recovering or stuck in addiction, sober holidays can be difficult. Finding ways to celebrate holidays while maintaining your sobriety is an important part of your recovery. If you are struggling with a substance abuse problem or having trouble managing your sobriety, call us today at 844.875.5609.