Maintaining your sobriety during a high pressure season can be challenging, but it is not impossible. YouHoliday Stress 1 can enjoy a successful season with a little forethought, planning and help from others. When you do, you will have a safe and healthy holiday season.

1. Look Ahead
From November to January your calendar may be filled with lots of out-of-the-ordinary pressure situations. Sit down with your calendar and identify what your pressure situations might be: family dinners, office parties, holiday shopping outings. Then design a strategy in advance for coping. For example, be sure to exercise on those days, attend a support meeting before or afterward or talk to others who can give you support. If you aren’t caught off guard, your risk of relapse diminishes.

2. Be Prepared
One of the best ways to avoid relapse is to be prepared. Temptations will come, so be ready for them. If you know, for instance, that everyone will be drinking on the day of the family dinner, have your own plan. Go for a walk with the dog or the kids. Decide ahead of time that you will leave shortly after the meal. Identify the triggers and make a clear plan for dealing with them.

3. Make Changes
You can keep what is good from past holidays while making changes that help you avoid relapse. If your family drinks alcoholic beverages during the holiday dinner, bring your own non-alcoholic drinks. If you used to spend New Year’s with heavy drinkers, start a new tradition with a new group of friends. Plan a non-alcoholic game night or movie marathon.

4. Seek Support
Avoiding relapse during the holidays is possible – especially with help. At Family Guidance Center we know the holidays are difficult and we are ready to be there as a support. Don’t wait until the pressure is overwhelming, seek help and support now and frequently throughout the season. You will have a happier holiday and a brighter New Year!