With the holiday season comes an increase in celebrations among family, friends, and colleagues, which can often lead to an increase in alcohol consumption. For anyone struggling with addiction, especially those in recovery, this can be a tough time of year to stay strong. It’s important to keep in mind that the holidays can be challenging for colleagues, family members, or friends who are fighting addiction, too, and that the struggle can be even greater for anyone also dealing with family conflict, financial pressure, or loneliness.
If you face this challenge, just know you’re not alone. Regardless of the type of addiction, many people feel the same and experience similar trials during the holidays. According to the American Addiction Centers, 29% of recent survey respondents said they drink more during the holidays, and that while holiday drinking may be brought on by celebration, holiday stressors may play a role in overindulgence.
Here are some proven methods to help you or your loved one stay level, strong, and focused on self-care as we move through the December and January holidays.
Ways to avoid temptation and peer pressure
- Order or choose non-alcoholic drinks. At holiday gatherings, whether large or small, choosing alcohol-free beverages allows you to have a drink in your hand and prevent others from asking if you need a drink, while fully participating in the festivities this time of year.
- Stay involved in activities that do not involve or are not focused on alcohol: Doing this shifts your focus in other and healthier directions. This could lead to starting enjoyable new traditions for how to spend the holiday season and welcome the New Year.
- Try to avoid situations that trigger you. Certain types of social events this time of year and even certain individuals can create the desire to drink or encourage substance abuse. Staying aware of these risks helps you consciously choose to avoid them. If you’re not sure how a social event might affect you, have an exit strategy planned before you go to make it a less stressful time.
- Don’t be afraid to find support. Get (or stay) involved with a local support group, whether it’s Alcoholics Anonymous or another support network. This will help you find sober friends who can help you have a safe and happy holiday season. Ben’s Friends is a wonderful national support resource for members of the food and beverage industry that offers regular online meetings and many local chapters that meet in person.
Ways to avoid enabling others who struggle with addiction
- Be informed. Educate yourself on how uncomfortable or tempting the holidays can be for someone with an addiction or recovering from one and how you can help them cope and stay sober.
- Be respectful. If you offer someone a drink and they say no, respect that answer. You may not know their situation. There’s no need to pressure a peer, family member, or anyone else to drink.
- Create a safe space. If you host an event, whether for work, a family gathering, or a holiday party for friends, be sure to offer a safe environment in which anyone with an addiction has choices that will make them more comfortable. One of my clients has lunch with their team every day to taste the day’s specials, including both food and alcohol. Over time, we noticed some job candidates we placed there were starting to struggle with drinking and realized these daily lunches were creating an environment that does more harm than good.
- Be aware of triggers for these loved ones, too: If certain scenarios could trigger someone who struggles with addiction, work together to avoid those situations and come up with alternatives.
Keep your bigger picture in mind
To those who are struggling this holiday season, I encourage you to stay strong during social gatherings, take care of yourself, and think of the big picture before choosing to drink or overindulge. Think of the ripple effect on your family, friends, and your own life and well-being. Always remember you’re not alone during this time of year, that you always have resources available to help, and that you can do this!
Explore a safer career path
If you work in a job that threatens or triggers alcohol addiction, let the experts here at Goodwin Recruiting help you find a new opportunity. Whether it’s in a different area of hospitality or an all-new beginning in another industry, we have many available job opportunities and would love to help you find the one that’s right for you. Reach out to me today to explore your career possibilities.
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