Surviving the Holidays, Part 3: Alcoholism
This is the 3rd part of a series on surviving the holidays for those suffering from addiction, eating disorders and other mental health issues.
Alcoholics can find the holidays to be a very trying time. The season is filled with alcoholic drinks, foods and plenty of temptation. That makes some alcoholics retreat from festivities but there is no need to hide yourself away if you follow our five steps.
Step 1 – Make a plan and stick to it
A plan can help with anxiety, but for an alcoholic, it can also be a great way to avoid temptation before it ever becomes an issue. A plan also helps if you share it with friends or family. If they respect your plan it will be much easier to carry out.
Step 2 – If you are tempted, step away from temptation
If everyone at a party is drinking, that is not the party for an alcoholic to be attending. If there is a certain group trying to get an alcoholic to take a drink with them, they should go speak with another group. It may seem like an overreaction to someone who does not understand alcoholism, but if a situation is triggering, it is best to leave and keep on the path to recovery.
Change your environment – Just as you should review your friendships, you should also think about the places you go to. If these places cause you to relapse, you should avoid them at all costs. This might mean staying at home or visiting constructive environments instead like a 12 step meeting.
Step 3 – Bring an alcohol free alternative
People are less likely to ask someone to take another drink if they already have one in their hand. This can remove temptation before it begins. An alcohol free alternative is also a good idea because it allows alcoholics to feel like they are still part of the group without having to give in to their addiction.
Step 4 – Be the designated driver
This has two benefits, it gives the alcoholic a great excuse not to drink and the designated driver is often the hero of the evening. By volunteering to be the designated driver the alcoholic can still be seen as one of the group and may even gain more respect because they are perceived as “taking one for the team”.
Step 5 – Attend alcoholics anonymous or other meetings before the event
The meeting offer an alcoholic support and a boost of confidence. They also provide a forum to voice concerns and a place to discuss the alcoholics plan. Along with a confidence boost, attending a meeting can be a good gauge for an alcoholic as to whether they should be attending a specific party. By talking about the party with the group, the alcoholic can get opinions and advice and ultimately decide if the party is the best idea.
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<strong>Expert Tip –
Jill Fowler, Clinical Manager & Jungian Analytic Psychotherapist </strong
Visit support groups – Whether or not you are shy or believe in support groups, you should give them the benefit of the doubt and try one out sometime. At first you might be resistant to what they teach… but you might begin to secretly enjoy them and appreciate the value of what they are doing for your life. Millions before you have received life changing wisdom from support groups.</p>