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How to Stay Sober During the Holidays

Leah Casciano

The holiday season is meant to be full of joy, and love, and excitement. But for some, it can be incredibly stressful and lead to triggers of wanting to use. Try to take this time to celebrate your life of sobriety, which is something really worth celebrating.

If you find yourself struggling during the holiday season, please remember that you are not alone. Help is only a phone call or meeting away! Here are some helpful and practical tips to make staying sober easier:


1. Plan each and every day of your holiday season: Plan to spend the majority of your time with friends and family who are supportive of your recovery. Surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and you choices is crucial.

2. Find a meeting in your area: Many groups have special meetings during the holidays to share their experience, strength and hope. Check the local papers for a meeting in your area. You can also look for online support groups. Here is the link for our Mental Kilter Warriors Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/264105927317662/

3. Ask for support from family and friends: Those who are truly supportive of your recovery will be happy to help you throughout the holidays. 

4. Have a list of people you can call: Make a list and check it twice. Carry your cell phone and list of names at all times.

5. Don’t forget about regular exercise: Regular exercise is an essential component of any balanced recovery program.

6. Stay away from slippery places: There is absolutely no reason to ever check out your former favorite establishments.

7. Create new traditions to replace your old using patterns: Buy a new board game or take the family on a hike. Use your imagination, be creative, & have fun. 

8. Write out a daily gratitude list: The quickest cure to get you out of the holiday blues is by counting your blessings and being grateful for what you have every morning. Reflecting on tree things each day can really turn your mind around.

9. Volunteer your services to a charitable organization: There are many people in your community who are less fortunate than you. You will be helping not only the needy but yourself!

10. Write a letter to yourself – “How I stayed sober over the holidays:” The act of writing your ideas on paper is very powerful. Write down all the activities and events that will help you have healthy, happy, and sober holiday season.

11. Avoid H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely , Tired): If you are hungry, get something to eat. If you are angry, talk to somebody about it. If you are lonely, go to a meeting or call a friend. If you are tired, get a good night’s sleep.

12. Live one day at a time and enjoy your sobriety: Stay in the moment and live one day, one moment at a time. Never mind about what happened or what could happen. Enjoy today. Live today. Celebrate your sobriety!

Those of us at Mental Kilter care about you and want you to have the best holiday season you can. Please never hesitate to reach out, anonymously or not, if you ever need guidance in any way!