Even some of the best of friends may not stay sober to support a friend in recovery. The allure of mind-altering drugs is strong for the addict and non-addict alike. This is especially true during the holidays when festivities often include alcohol and even drugs in certain social circles.
Creating a list of strategies for dealing with these times is essential for recovering drug abusers staying on the sober path. These tactics can include the following:
- Sip water — Always have a glass of something like water in hand. When everybody else is taking shots, take a sip to resist temptation. Consider creating a faux cocktail, which can ward off questions from others about partaking in the spiked punch bowl.
- Host a party — If worried about being out and unable to resist temptation, invite friends out for something that doesn’t involve partying to avoid feelings of guilt about forgoing on the fun and still spend time with loved ones during the holidays.
- Make a list of conversation starters — Don’t fret about losing the ability to socialize without the social lubricant of alcohol. Instead, create a mental list of jokes or conversation starters to keep up the flow of topics.
- Be the designated driver — Volunteering to drive friends and family around safely is a good cover for keeping sober. Few try to pressure these volunteers to drink because they understand that designated drivers are just being cautious and want drivers and their passengers to stay safe.
- Be honest — Tell friends in advance that sobriety is the main goal of the night. No need to admit to having a problem or undergoing treatment, but letting them know about quitting should be enough for them to get the hint about skipping particular activities.
- Inform the best friend — Maybe it is difficult to come forth and let everyone know about the past substance abuse. It’s understandable, considering some people aren’t very sympathetic and can be judgmental. Designate one friend to confide in and let that person know what is going on. He or she can be the one to watch out at the party and waylay opportunities for peer pressure. He or she can be the rock to lean on during difficult and fun times alike.
Passing on parties and other social events is another option for addiction patients. There is no shame in skipping events that can cause a relapse either due to temptations of substance abuse or the stress often brought on by social situations, according to Howard Samuels, Psy.D., a psychotherapist and contributor with the Huffington Post, in the article titled “8 Ways to Prevent Relapse.” Temporary enjoyment is not worth sacrificing recovery. However, failing does not mean there is no getting better again.
In cases of relapse, drug addiction treatment centers in California or alcohol rehab facilities can provide the treatment necessary not just for gaining sobriety but maintaining permanent recovery. Mental health professionals at addiction rehabs specialize in providing cognitive behavioral therapy, a technique designed to seek and root out negative and destructive thought patterns, such as ideas pertaining to drug addiction. Do not hesitate to seek out professional help and enjoy the holidays in a safe and healthy way in the future.