The holiday season is upon us once again. The parties are being planned and the food prepared. You too must prepare yourself for the struggles, temptations or flashbacks that could be winging their way in your direction even as you read this. Of course, the holidays are a time of celebration but for most of us, in the past, celebrating meant getting high or drunk.
This could be your first holiday sober and the memories could come flooding back. It would be foolish to face this season unprepared. So in light of this, here are some tips to help get you through the holidays sane and sober.
Spend�Time With God. By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgement is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me. John 5:30
Not that the holiday season is the only time that you should spend quality time with God but clearly Jesus understood that He could do nothing without God. If he, who healed the sick, gave sight to the blind and raised the dead understood that time with his Father was his top priority then so should we. Jesus' relationship with God was to please him and not just to keep him out of trouble. Unfortunately, too often, our prayers can appear as a type of attempted spiritual manipulation of God to get what we desire and not what we need. Our love for God must be sincere and from the heart. Our times with him should come from a heart of love, not pressure or fear. When we stay close to God, our decisions will be guided by wisdom.
Failure To Plan Is A Plan For Failure
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
The scripture above does not warn us to keep track of how much sober time we have. Instead it teaches us to plan our days, prioritize our lives correctly. The consequences for us picking up and using again are dire. Thanks be to God, since getting sober, many of us have received spouses and families back. We work in careers that we know could never have been without the power of God and we have brothers and sisters who love, trust and believe in us. It is a lot to risk over one dumb decision. In life's situations we often hear about the need to have a plan B. As addicts, there are times when we should have a plan C and D as well. We need to make sure we know what we are walking into and more importantly, how to walk back out.
Seek Advice On Decisions You Make
Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance. Proverbs 20:18
Make plans by seeking advice. The best-laid plans can come undone without objectivity. We may feel with all our hearts that what we are doing is for the best, or that the decisions that we are making are the most suited for the situation, but without getting input from others who know you and can be objective, we can rush into many pitfalls. A humble person has no fear in seeking advice.
Pray For Wisdom
If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
Asking for wisdom is something we need to do a lot. Unfortunately it is not an ask once, use often policy. We have to ask again and again. We need to seek out wisdom with more zeal that we had for seeking�our next high and we will grow closer to God. We should not rely on our own wisdom and experiences, that's what got us into trouble in the first place.
Don't Take Chances
Keep to a path far from her, do not go near the door of her house,�lest you give your best strength to others and your years to one who is cruel, Proverbs 5:8-9
When we used, we took chances all the time. We drove drunk, smuggled drugs, shot our mouths off, but now that we are disciples, wisdom must guide our steps. We may feel that we can go into that bar alone and not drink -- but why take the chance? Sure, you may not have that drink today, but what about tomorrow. Satan is very patient. We may be confident we can spend the holidays alone with our families who drink regularly -- but why take the chance? Bring someone close to you along as support - it will be a great opportunity for them to meet your family. We have too much to lose! If we miss the occasional party or get together to stay sober then that is a smart choice.
Safety In Numbers
Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecc 4:12
God knows that there is strength in numbers. Whenever possible, if you are attending a function where alcohol will be served, bring a friend. Make it someone who knows your background and what to look out for. Have numbers you can call to talk to someone else in recovery. Make sure it is someone who will tell you the Truth in Love.
Take In A Meeting
Find out where and when CR is meeting in your area and go even if you graduated years ago. Take in a twelve step meeting. Keep it green for yourself and remember how much God has saved you from.
If you are unsure if non-alcoholic beverages will be available, bring your own soda or juice. Be prepared!
People Who Play With Fire Get Burned
Stay away from the bar area. If you are seated near someone who is drinking and feel uncomfortable, ask to be moved.
Just Say NO If offered a drink, just say, 'No, thank you.' You do not have to explain. Don't allow yourself to be pressured into compromise. If you feel that you are becoming tempted to drink, leave early.
Avoid HALT If there is food available, be sure to eat, so that you are not hungry. Remember HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.) Any of these feelings can trigger a relapse.
Be Real Be honest with yourself. How do you really feel? Are you comfortable? Do you care what others will think of you if you leave early or not show up at all? Avoid trying to please people. Being Macho gets you killed.
Stay Focussed Stay busy. Talk to others, dance, share your faith, etc. Don't give yourself time to think about the fact that you are not drinking.
Don't Drink, No Matter What!
If others are the event are drinking, chances are they will never know that you only have cola in your glass. If you are new to sobriety and are concerned about attending an event where alcohol will be served, arrive late and leave early.