When you’re in early recovery, an important rule of thumb is to avoid situations that involve alcohol. The same is absolutely true if you’ll be spending time with family this holiday season— so it’s best to skip that annual Christmas party that your cousin Leo hosts, featuring spiked eggnog and Santa Shots. Why not Skype Uncle Leo instead?
That said, even the best advance planning can’t always protect you from being in situations where there is drinking. In these instances, use the following self-talk pointers to help you stay sober at that family holiday party or event where alcohol is unavoidable:
- Rehearse the Serenity Prayer.
- Ask yourself, “What would my sponsor say?” Or, ask your sponsor ahead of time what they would say. Then bring their words along on an index card.
- Print out some self-affirmations that you can bring with you on an index card and say to yourself.
- Tell yourself that you deserve sobriety and to be present to your family today.
- If you’ve earned a one-month chip in your AA group, take it with you and keep it in your pocket as a tangible reminder of how far you’ve come. If cravings strike, reach for that chip and think to yourself: “I’ve made it through one whole month sober, so I can make it through the next few hours.”
- Play the tape forward to what will happen if you have just one drink. Remind yourself that you know the end of the story if you partake, including the guilt and shame that will dampen this special time with family.
- Bring a small journal and pick a mantra for that day. It may be as simple as, “I can and I will.” Or, “I can choose freedom for today.” For more ideas for positive mantras, check out these “50 Positive Affirmations” from the Voice in Recovery blog.
Learn how to politely say “no” to alcohol at work holiday parties in our Learning Center articles, Christmas Spirits: Saying “No” to Alcohol at Work Holiday Parties.