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The festive season is cheerful and fun, but social obligations and celebrations could become a battlefield for those recovering from substance dependency. As a recovering dependent, your sobriety is the greatest gift to yourself and your loved ones. Here are some tips to protect your sobriety this festive season:

Start your day with a plan

Decide how to spend your day without too much exposure to alcohol and substances. Prepare yourself for possible challenges beforehand while staying focused to protect your sobriety.

Evaluate each situation

Immediately categorise a place or situation as low, medium or high risk. Avoid any medium- to high-risk situations during early recovery. In a challenging situation, you need to be prepared. Be ready with a polite apology to leave when required, and instead rely on your own transport.

Bring your own drinks

Bring your own drinks and snacks with you to enjoy at the party. Choose your favourite non-alcoholic beverage so that you can still raise a glass with your friends to celebrate. 

Know your triggers

Try to avoid situations that weaken your resistance, or at least be ready for it. Hunger, anger, loneliness and fatigue are common pitfalls. Certain people, places and music can also make you more vulnerable. Always be ready with a plan.

Be prepared with an answer

It is always better to talk about your goal to stay sober and protect your sobriety. Suppose you do not want to discuss your sobriety with certain people. In that case, you will need a discreet and courteous answer ready to decline a drink. You could use some polite answers: 

“No, thank you… I have to drive. ” I have just had one. ” I need to be fresh tomorrow. ” I have reached my limit. ” I do not drink. ”

Turn your attention to something else

Invite a supportive friend or family member to join you at the party or volunteer to assist with the proceedings. Get a seat further from the drinks and get involved in a conversation that will distract you. 

Resist your cravings

The craving for alcohol or other substances last about 20 minutes. It should pass if you could stay strong and resist it for those few minutes. In the meantime, you could move to another part of the room, focus on your breathing or meditate. Stay focused on your sobriety and all the positive things it brings into your life. 

Eat regularly and healthily

Low blood sugar levels can make you feel anxious and irritated. It can cause impulsive reactions and make you vulnerable. Keep your blood sugar level stable by having a small and healthy snack every three hours. 

Keep your stress under control

Many people try to manage their stress with alcohol and other addictive substances. Find your own way to blow off steam and calm your mind. Make extra time for exercise, meditation or a favourite hobby when your stress levels are high. 

Connect to your support network

Keep in touch with your support groups or friends who will assist you when you struggle with your recovery. Also, accept that you would possibly not party with those friends who put your sobriety at risk. The recovery from alcohol and substance addiction is a daily challenge and lifelong process. Still, it is a gift you owe to yourself and your loved ones. You are not alone – there is help. 

If you or a loved one struggle with addiction, contact Life Path Health for more information on professional treatment, or call the 24/7-Helpline on 072 7900 506 for assistance.

Read more:

Find Addiction Treatment in the Western Cape

Why You Should Consider Drug Rehabilitation

How To Talk To Someone About Their Addiction

How Can Daily Routines Help With Addiction Treatment?

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