There is a difference between sobriety and recovery. You must have heard the term dry drunk; it means a person that isn’t drinking but retains the behaviors and personality traits of their drunken self. In other words, they aren’t using, but they are not in an addiction recovery plan. Recovery is a combination of mind, spirit, and self, and if any of them aren’t sober, then the person isn’t in real recovery. It’s more than abating the use or abuse of mind-altering substances, it’s your state of mind, and while you may lack control over many things, you have control over what you do to yourself.
There are special challenges during the holidays for those in recovery. The holidays are commonly filled with good comfort food and free-flowing alcohol. For those who abuse substances, this might also and commonly include coke, pills, heroin, weed, and other “treats,” all designed to meet a single objective, higher enjoyment of the celebration.
If using drugs isn’t normally your “thing,” it may not be a big deal. If, however, you are in or on your way to recovery, the presentation of a trigger can send you into a tailspin, forcing you back into a place that is the pits. Avoiding the danger is important, but how?
Well, you take the easy way and avoid parties and events that aren’t sober. Gee, that’s easy, but not always desirable, especially if you want to hang around friends and family. But it’s still a choice. There are thousands of people who are sober thinking just what you are, and all that means is there are lots of sober parties. So, you can ask others at your recovery meeting where the sober parties are. Chances are, not only will they tell you where the parties are, they might even offer to take you along. And now you’ve just made a new friend.
What if you don’t attend meetings? This could be your excuse to check one out. It won’t hurt you, right? No, it won’t!
But maybe you want to be around family and friends and celebrate with them. Is that alright to do? The most important question to ask is if they are sober or not, and what they plan on serving. If alcohol is on the menu, and that isn’t a problem for you (be honest in answering that question to yourself), then by all means, go and have fun. But if alcohol is a hotspot for you, then ask yourself, “is it worth risking everything you’ve accomplished for a night of fun?”
Remaining sober is your responsibility, not anyone else’s. You aren’t talking about a lifetime of decisions, just for one night. While it may be difficult, it’s really not a big deal if you choose to do something else instead. But if you relapse, it’s huge. Contemplate long and honestly before writing it off as “no big deal.” It can be a fatal decision.
If you respect yourself, your sobriety, new relationships, improved health, and true friends, you’ll think twice before risking it all. So, take a good, long look in the mirror, and ask that beautiful person what the next right thing is. Ending the year on the right foot gives you a great foothold from which to begin the new year, i.e., sober, responsible, and happy.