Ah, December. It’s that time of year again. The Christmas cheer is in the air and mouths are watering at the possibilities that the New Year will usher in (or if you’re anything like me, watering at the prospects of holiday-time feasts). Hopefully by now you’ve used last week’s blog post to help you navigate through your year-end function safely. If you haven’t had your end-of-year work party yet or haven’t checked out that article, give it a read here. If not, here are 5 tips to help you enter 2021 sober.
1: Set the Intention of Conquering December Sober!
This might seem obvious but one should not doubt the power of manifestation. Make a promise and commitment to yourself that you will come out the other side with your sobriety intact. If this step works for you, then you might be able to amplify its effects by making a pact with someone else in recovery so that you are also externally accountable!
2: Create a Periodic Check-In with your Recovery Mentor Figure.
Now, if you’re anything like me, you might be asking yourself what is a recovery mentor figure? How does one even earn such a title let alone find someone who bears it? If you don’t have a sponsor or addiction counsellor this role can be fulfilled by anyone in recovery that you admire and trust. Even if this person doesn’t have eons more clean time than you (a terrible measure of success in recovery in the first place), creating a daily/weekly appointment to speak to this person gives you a chance to offload if you’ve had a tough day or appreciate your strength and resilience if you’ve had a good one.
3: Reward yourself along the Way.
Whether its giving yourself a pat on the back with your ‘Recovery Mentor Figure’ (I’m trademarking this term) on the phone or gifting yourself something once the month of December is over, you need to incentivise yourself! More importantly, rewarding yourself is a perfect way to practice self-care, a pertinent tool in one’s recovery toolbox. Examples of longer-term rewards include setting aside money to purchase yourself that new coffee machine you’ve been eyeing. Shorter-term, more frequent rewards could be treating yourself to your favourite teatime biscuit at the end of the day (you’ll find me at Virgin Active in January) or watching an episode of The Queen’s Gambit. Keep it personal and actionable and you’re on the right path.
4: If Possible, Bring your Own Company to those Tricky Family Gatherings.
A sober companion would be ideal, but anyone who knows your struggle and is on your side will suffice. A friend’s presence alone makes most of life’s displeasures more bearable. Not only that, but troublesome family members and pesky family friends are less likely to pry and act out in the presence of someone relatively unknown to them. However, if your family is anything like mine, then this tip gets thrown out the window as they actually tend to increase their display of dysfunction in the presence of others. Your only hope then, is this last tip.
5: Set Boundaries and Always Choose yourself First
If the prospect of attending a certain event or gathering is plaguing you with anxiety and concern, don’t be afraid to make the decision not to go. Yes, you love your family members (and possibly even your in-laws) and they will certainly miss watching you squirm while your most embarrassing moments are relived for a good laugh, but your safety takes priority over EVERYTHING.
I repeat, your safety takes priority over EVERYTHING.
Hopefully, the family members who matter will understand your decision not to attend a certain event. Those who don’t, don’t deserve an explanation.
If you, or someone you know, is facing a stressful upcoming December period, check out Journey’s social media pages (Facebook and Instagram). We post daily content centred on recovery that will certainly ease this difficult time. If this isn’t enough, feel free to reach out to Journey.