During the holidays, alcohol is ubiquitous. Thanksgiving, Christmas, office parties, commercials, it’s everywhere! For most people, a few drinks during the holidays add to the festive atmosphere. Alcoholics, however, may have a tougher time during the holidays for many reasons.
First is the overall presence of alcohol. Especially with newly sober people, seeing people drink and have fun all around you can be difficult. That’s why it is good to have a plan. If you’re sober and worried about these situations, you can take steps to make sure you can handle them. Phone numbers of sober friends, sponsors, or other understanding people can help. Also, it can be a good idea to drive yourself to these events, so you always have the option of leaving and getting to a healthier environment for you.
No less important to consider is holiday depression and anxiety. The winter holidays can bring about feelings of depression over friends and family lost, or over difficult relationships with people you may have to interact with. There can be anxiety over money and over events you may have to attend, for work for instance. It’s important to discuss these feelings with a friend or professional help. They’re not good or bad feelings, per se, they can just be difficult for sober people, especially newly sober people, to process.
Also, some people get depressed in the winter months because of decreased daylight or increased cold. Seasonal Affective Disorder is common, and if you usually experience difficulties with depression in the winter, it can be helpful to speak with a professional.
Family concerns are also common during the holiday season. You may have to see people you don’t want to see, or you may be concerned about coming into contact with people who may not understand or even know about your sobriety.
Again, professional help or speaking with someone who has experienced these issues can be helpful. Almost every person who has gotten sober has had to walk through the holidays with their family and face people they haven’t dealt with sober in a long time. There is help if you look for it!