This time of year may be challenging, but it’s possible to maintain recovery.

The holidays can be a difficult time for people to stay sober, especially those new to sobriety or who have tenuous relationships with family members. Here are a few ideas to help put your sobriety first during the holiday season.

Find local support
Whether you use 12 steps, SMART, a Buddhist recovery program, or another form of support, find out where the meetings are near family gathering. Call Central Office and ask for the numbers of local support group members who might be willing to talk by phone. Since the pandemic has forced many area meetings to close, locate a meeting on Zoom. There are always people willing to help.

Have a list of people to call
Where ever you are… take your support network with you. Have a list of people you can call or text if any situation becomes challenging. You want people who will listen and show you how you can behave in a way that will calm the waters. It’s important to be open to seeing our own part in things.

You have the right to leave
You have every right to leave an uncomfortable situation. You can do this in a short-term way, by excusing yourself to a restroom or go outside and regroup, from there you can make a call.
If the problem is at a level you need to leave the event, get out of there. If you think things might escalate, bring your own transportation so you’re not trapped. You don’t have to stay if you are uncomfortable.

Pray or meditate
You can find strength and comfort by praying. Ask for calm and the ability to see the good in someone who challenges you.
Ask for strength and an opportunity to be of service. Regulate your breathing. Sit in stillness until you can attend to others in an appropriate and helpful way.

Be of service, but stay safe
There are almost always ways we can help. See where you can be helpful and do it. Please wear a mask unless eating or sipping your latte.

Engage without expectations
Just because you are in recovery doesn’t mean that anyone else in your family has to change. You may or may not be in a situation where you will be supported. Don’t expect anyone to be other than who they are, and you won’t be disappointed.
Your recovery is the greatest gift you can give yourself and your loved ones. Honor yourself by protecting your recovery. Put your mental, emotional and physical health first.