A few tips on staying sober

It is a monumental challenge to become and remain sober once you get addicted to alcohol.

Plan each day of your vacation:

Many people who are healing from alcoholism have a very hard time controlling their leisure time. It is imperative that you know exactly what you are doing every day if you have 10 days of leave before returning to work. The first thing you can do is prepare to attend dinners and parties where either non-drinkers or light drinkers are the majority of the people attending. There would be less temptation because there is no alcohol available. You should invite trusted friends and family members if you host a dinner and let them know that there will be zero or restricted alcohol available. For more info see here.

And extra time on your hands, working out and exercising is also a smart idea. Go for a stroll around the block instead of taking a nap on the sofa after dinner. Plan on of day of your holiday to do some sort of physical exercise. Swimming, skating, biking, Tai Chi, yoga or water aerobics are examples. It is very important, however that your walking route does not pass by the liquor store!

The holidays are also a very appropriate time to volunteer to support others less fortunate than you. You help not only those in need, but yourself, by helping out at a soup kitchen, food bank or homeless shelter.

On each and every day of your holidays, write on your calendar what you are doing and where you are going. Pay attention to detail, and make arrangements for contingency. Know that you probably knew the exact locations of each liquor store and its hours of operation within a 30 mile radius of your home while you were drinking.

For all times take your mobile phone with you:

It is very likely that you will face some difficult circumstances that may tempt you to drink, even with a very comprehensive and structured holiday schedule. That’s why you’ve got to bring your mobile phone and 10 people’s names that you can call at all times. Pick up your mobile phone if you have the desire to drink and keep calling before you find someone. Bring enough change with you to make at least 10 phone calls if you do not have a mobile phone. Please note that cravings should be predicted and are a normal part of the process of recovery. Don’t pick up the first beverage. Pick up your phone instead and call your supporter or network of help.

Keep close to and far away from slippery places and your support group

The holiday season, with particular focus on the spirit of sharing, is meant to be a time of love and joy. However the holidays are a time of anguish, sadness, isolation and despair for many people, including those suffering from alcoholism. The holidays are not a time for the rest of society to be segregated. In reality, Stanley Gitlow, a popular New York psychotherapist, notes that he has never come across an addict who has not suffered from isolation in more than 30 years of practise. For the recuperating alcoholic, isolation is debilitating and must be avoided at all cost, particularly during holidays.

If you are trying to remain safe and sober, being in close touch with your support group and staying away from “slippery places.” is absolutely important. A support group requires a 12-step group, not a 12-step rehabilitation group or trusted friends and family. Intend to spend with your support group half as much time as you usually do the rest of the year. There is simply no reason you would want to visit the old gang at your former watering hole if you are in regular touch with your support network.