Ask most people how they got sober, and they will tell you, one day at a time. Similar to running 5 miles or 10 or 20, you can’t think about all of that mileage. You have to look at getting through what is right in front of you. Early sobriety is the same.
With the holidays around the corner, we are thinking about our friends, family and community members who are in early sobriety. Here are some tips for folks who are in early sobriety:
- Have somewhere to go and have a plan
It is important to have a place to go. During active use of drugs and alcohol, it is common to damage relationships with loved ones. Because of this, some are not invited to the first family holiday after they sober up. Often family members need time to rebuild a sense of trust and safety. In addition to this, the newly sober person may feel triggered by their family members or their family dynamic. If you are in this situation, take some time to make plans for yourself, even if it means that you aren’t with your family this season. If you went to treatment or have attended support groups, reach out to the sober community. It might sound like a no brainer but it’s important to think about your plan and how you might deal with triggering situations. Will you attend an AA meeting? Will you meet up with your sponsor or other sober friends? Who can you call if you are feeling overwhelmed? Who feels safe in your life right now?
2. Find volunteer opportunities
Look for an opportunity to be of service. Finding volunteer opportunities can offer perspective. It can connect you with the spirit of the season while reducing negative feelings about your family situation. Here are some options in New Orleans:
- Grace’s Meals with love provides hot breakfast to community members 5 days a week. Volunteers are needed to serve food and create a positive environment
- Second harvest food bank always has a need for volunteers to help plate and produce meals, which are distributed to children and seniors.
- Broadmoor food pantry offers local residents a weekly drive thru and walk in food pantry. Volunteers help set up tabel and distribute food.
- Zeus’s Rescues is always seeking volunteers to walk their adoptable dogs. Shifts are available 7 days a week.
3. Be open to family members questions about being sober
If you do choose to be around family, your family members may have curiosity about whether it’s okay for you to drink. It is helpful to be honest and upfront about the choices you are making to protect your sobriety. For example: “No, drinking is not a part of my life anymore at all.” or “I am committed to a completely new lifestyle now and that includes being fully sober.’
4. Avoid replaying old arguments
Be mindful that holidays can be stressful and though sobriety is a staggering change, some of the old misunderstandings may still persist. Be patient with those, know that they will get better with time and sobriety. Try to stay focused on how you can make the holidays full.
5. Have a role
Take initiative to help with anything that is happening. Whether your role is to cook, buy presents, bake cookies, or pick up the turkey, having a role helps. It helps with feelings of belonging as well as fully immersing yourself in the experience. It keeps you present in the moment, and it is a healthy distraction, which we often need in the early days of sobriety.
6. Step out and call for support when necessary
Know your limits. Don’t wait until you’re at your brink. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, overwhelmed, or uncomfortable, reach out to your safe people. Know who they are and let them know ahead of time that you will be calling to check in as needed.
Modern Therapy and Wellness is a Therapy practice offering specialty services to individuals and couples. We have specialists in the areas of grief, addiction, Anxiety, brainspotting and couple’s therapy. We provide in person and virtual Therapy in Louisiana. Contact us for a free phone consultation at 504-452-1483 or schedule with us directly on our website. We are here for you!