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8 Sobriety Tips for the festive season

Silly season is upon us. It is that jolly time of year where the wheels tend to fall off a bit… The roads are a dangerous place, households suffer with alcohol and drug abuse, and the clubs and pubs are in their busiest season of the year.

A lot of us are going home for Christmas and new year, and we managed to string some good clean time together while we were away. This time of year can get quite overwhelming all of a sudden, with triggers of all sorts arising. This article is a basic overview of some tips and tricks to help you with your recovery over this time period.

First of all, remember to always put yourself and your emotional state first. You are the most important person for yourself. No one is perfect, and we all fall short of others' expectations and needs. But this shouldn’t be an excuse to relapse. By putting yourself and your own needs first, you not only practice self love, but you meet the most important expectation that you can set for yourself, which is self respect.

Play the movie through… Don’t get stuck in the moment. The consequences that follow always outway the 10 seconds of joy (which we don’t even remember the next day), and we very easily forget why we cleaned up in the first place. When we just take a moment to play the whole movie through, we then see the madness of our addiction, and why we cleaned up in the first place.

Here are 8 tips:

Have a plan. Make sure that you are geared for what is ahead of you. Let’s face it: This is a scary time of year if you are in recovery, especially early recovery. So make sure that you have a full-proof recovery plan worked out beforehand, with an exit strategy in place. You know the old saying “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” This is true in almost everything we do, and recovery is no exception. Make sure that you can call the right people, if needed, or that you know how to answer the people when the silly questions arise.

Have sufficient reading/listening material at hand. The reason why Alcoholics Anonymous worked so well in the early years, was quite simply, because one alcoholic could share their story with another alcoholic. The moment they shared their stories and related, they sobered up. In this case, meetings aren’t always possible, but there are a wealth of brilliant articles on the topic of recovery, like for instance this article on how to diffuse cravings.

B.Y.O.B. Simply put, bring your own beverage, and in this case Appletiser or Grapetiser is always a great choice. Another one of my favourites is Schweppes Dry Lemon. They recently brought them out in a 1 litre as well!

Just For Today. Take it easy. You just need to stay sober for today! :)

Tomorrow will worry about itself, and you can focus on yourself today. There is a beautiful quote by Marcel Pagnol where he says that “the reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.” This sums it up perfectly for me. We romanticise about the past, forgetting how bad active addiction and alcoholism was. We stress about the future, about made up scenarios in our overthinking minds, while forgetting about the present - our well deserved holiday.

Leave when you want to. This tip ties back with the first tip on putting yourself first. No one is forcing you to stay in a toxic environment. The people who truly love and respect you will understand 100% why you feel uncomfortable, and why you would rather want to leave. And guess what? It’s okay.

Dr. Seuss said that “those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.” Remember that when you feel uncomfortable around certain people, or if you feel unsafe. There are a lot of other ways in which you can enjoy your holiday, in a peaceful and sober way.

I heard it being said that sobriety is simple, but being simple is hard.

We as addicts and alcoholics tend to overcomplicate and overthink most obstacles in our lives, but if we just step back and break it down, we realize that we were usually just overthinking it. Take it easy… Don’t overstress yourself. If you feel that you are not in a safe place, then leave. Make simple decisions beforehand, that are not complicated. For instance, decide beforehand who you will be visiting, and who you will definitely not be visiting. Places that you feel safe at, and places that you will definitely not feel safe at.

H.A.L.T. Hungry; Angry; Lonely; Tired. These are four common triggers that lead to relapse… When you feel that you are craving, ask yourself these simple four questions.

Am I Hungry?

Am I Angry?

Am I Lonely?

Am I Tired?

Get in touch with someone in recovery. Get to a meeting, call your sponsor, or call a good friend. “We stand this way holding hands, to remind ourselves that we need never stand alone again, unless WE choose to.” Did you know that there are hundreds, if not thousands of meetings which you can join online? This is if you are far out in the bundus, or on some remote beach. The possibilities to reach out are endless.

Above all, don’t overthink it! You will be okay. :)

Relax, take a break from your busy life, and rest!

Feel free to call us on 011 786 0326 during office hours, or on 079 465 4556 for any emergencies or if you just need to reach out. We are here to help!

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