As we wind down the summer and look forward into the holidays, we can see we’re heading into a season of gatherings.
Office parties, family fêtes, holiday get togethers, old friends and group dynamics can all be rough to tolerate when we’re first stabilizing our lives. How can we keep our commitments to sobriety in the face of so many social events and festivities?
Tips on How to Protect Your Sobriety Among Friends and Family This Season
1. Set Your Intentions
It is enormously powerful to set intent. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Fortify your will by reminding yourself what you choose to create with your one precious life.
Journal on the following questions:
What are my intentions with respect to sobriety this season?
If these are my intentions, which behaviors match those intentions?
If someone else had these same intentions, how would they behave?
What do I need to do and refrain from doing, in order to experience the flowering of these intentions?
What behaviors and actions follow logically from these intentions?
2. Make a Plan of Action
Planning is a vital tool for those of us who have struggled in the past to hold steady to our real intentions and values. Planning protects us from unexpected free time, which in the beginning of sobriety is an opening for past destructive habits to pop in out of nowhere.
Planning follows from getting serious about your intentions. If you really intend something, the next natural step is to begin planning, coordinating and putting things in motion, talking to relevant people and thinking about resources.
With as much self-love as you can, create a detailed plan for yourself, that represents an ideal path for staying sober and matches your true highest intentions. Look out for areas of contradiction between what your best and highest good wants and what shadowy sides of you may want.
Design the plan that reasonably leads to the results you intend.
3. When in Doubt, Leave It Out
When your genuine intention is to stay sober, you might not attend certain events. In early sobriety we need to actively avoid some people and places if it’s not strictly necessary to be there, even if it’s socially uncomfortable to turn down an invitation.
If you get a quaky feeling about a situation, or if your inner addict seems a little too excited about this particular event or person, skip it this time. We have to be lovingly honest with ourselves about our true motivations and whether what is drawing us to something is a healthy urge or not.
When you’re not sure how to handle specific scenarios and what feel like obligations you can’t refuse, get help from who have walked this path ahead of you for how you could attend but still hold true to your real, best highest intentions.
4. Bring Your Plan to Life by Making a Schedule
Turn your plan into a schedule, by putting activities and positive actions you will take on the calendar.
Choosing specific times and dates for your positive activities often makes the inner addict squirrelly. That tells you something about how the inner addict may have been hoping to use some moment of undefined purpose to take you by surprise and ambush you.
To avoid giving the addict any room to work with, shoot for a realistic and sustainable schedule that balances positive activities and the necessities of work life with safely scheduled rest and down time. Of course life will be life, but when plan for what we want to experience, we are so much more likely to experience that.
It is recommended that you map out a 1-3 month projected schedule. See where you can already decide in advance to commit to a consistent rhythm of 12 step meetings, treatment aftercare programming, therapy, coffee dates with sober friends and mentors, exercise, time with pets and nature, sober social events, and nourishing creative activities or hobbies.
Make your calendar visible, even decorated. You can involve your inner child in this project – unicorn stickers and drawings of hearts and flowers go a long way. Making it a creative project is fun and also helps your powerful visual mind can grab a hold of your change intentions and start turning them into reality.
5. Make a Special Plan For Specific Events
As your calendar helps you see upcoming social and family gatherings ahead of time, pair each potentially challenging scenario with a thick, juicy set of tools and preparations you can and will use. Put your tools and events plan in writing as well, and share it with a positive person for extra accountability.
Plan to sandwich any contact with non-sobriety related settings and people (such as weddings, or other places where alcohol will definitely be in circulation) with sobriety-associated settings and people.
For example, if you are attending a wedding in a city you’ve never been to, you can already look up and commit to a 12 step meeting to attend that morning in that location. Schedule an evening call with a sponsor or therapist for the day of the event, so that you will have a pre-arranged reason to step away from the event. A private call with a sober person is a lifesaver, as it takes you out of the wedding context for a brief reorientation to your true intentions.
6. Carry a List of On-The-Spot Tools That Work
Have a list of on-the-spot tools you can use with you at all times. Things like “do square breathing for five minutes” (four counts of in-breath, four counts of holding the in-breath in, four counts of out-breath, four counts before starting the next in-breath), yoga poses that work to calm you down in an instant (such as forward bends that stretch out adrenals and release stress), hacks like “walk briskly around the block for at least ten minutes” and “re-read this list of top ten reasons why you personally want to be sober”, can be true miracles in the moment
Villa Kali Ma Helps Women Stay Sober Year Round
If you’re struggling to be and stay sober, Villa Kali Ma welcomes you here, we’ll use our cutting edge holistic treatment program to help you figure it out for good. We all need help to get and stay sober, every day of the year.