Once the fun of Halloween ends, you wake up to find yourself in the height of the holiday season. November begins an intense eight weeks of holiday expectations, social gatherings, and family reunions. So as you plan your holiday, why not add some much-needed guidance in planning sober holiday parties?
Strains on Your Sobriety
Whether you are new to recovery or are in long-term recovery, you likely dread the holidays. Despite the festivities, certain aspects of the season can create anxiety or depression. The highs and lows of the holidays are especially difficult for those with a substance use disorder (SUD). In addition, you may face family conflict, financial difficulties, grief, loneliness, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). While each hurdle alone is challenging, when combined, the prospect of celebrating is unthinkable. If you feel overwhelmed by the reality of one or more of these issues, you can talk with someone about your thoughts and feelings.
Regardless of how you choose to cope with the holidays, you may need some guidance if hosting a holiday gathering. Holiday party planning requires time, attention, self-care, and preparation.
The urge to drink or use a substance can increase during the holidays because of the stress. However, you can follow a few guidelines to mitigate and avoid the triggers caused by the season or get ready to host a party.
Plan and Delegate
Plan ahead. The key to a stress-free holiday party is to make a comprehensive to-do list. This can include anything from decorations, invitation lists, recipes, and even guidelines guests must follow. One of the most helpful parts of planning is asking for help. Accept offers if friends or family member wants to come over, help decorate, or put together last-minute things. One caveat: don’t be afraid to say no to those who cause unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Don’t wait until the day of the party to cook everything at once. When you are grocery shopping, add crackers, cookies, chips, nuts, or candy. Unless you are hosting a formal event, keep the atmosphere comfortable by serving food buffet-style.
Keep It Clean and Organized
When you have friends over, don’t stress about having your home 100% in order. If you have a room that is filled with clutter, simply close the door.
Interior and Exterior Decorating Tips
Decking the halls doesn’t mean breaking your wallet (or your back) or spending hours getting the house holiday-ready. Instead, find a theme you like and stick with it.
Perhaps you don’t have many holiday-themed accessories, and that’s okay. Flea markets, social media marketplaces, dollar stores, and friends and family are excellent sources for decorations.
You don’t need to have a house covered in lights. Keep it simple and affordable. A wreath, ribbons, stockings, or a picture placed on the door are all terrific ways to greet your guests.
Poinsettias, a rosemary tree, or whatever you prefer will make your entrance vibrant and welcoming.
Find the Perfect Vibe
No matter where you are, music sets the mood. You can take the time to set up a playlist or follow these simple tips for party-time music:
- Keep in mind who is attending the party, find the best vibe, and set the mood with the best playlist.
- If you are serving a formal meal, avoid music with lyrics while guests are eating. This way, everyone will be able to communicate clearly.
Take a Relaxed Approach
Throwing a party can include holding an open house, a gathering with no required time slot where guests can come and go as they please. Set a start and end time for your friends and family to drop by at their convenience. You can enjoy the time you have with your guests, and they can enjoy the flexibility.
Holiday parties often include alcohol consumption. To help you maintain your sobriety, you can take a few precautions. A few suggestions include:
- Continue to go to meetings. Whether you attend a 12-Step meeting, a group session, or individual therapy, keep going! Are you traveling? Plan ahead and find meetings near your destination.
- Avoid your triggers, even if that means a family member, friend, or old habits.
- Keep a non-alcoholic beverage in your hand, like soda, juice, or water. If you’re holding a drink, people can’t hand you one.
There are varying views on mocktails. While some believe these beverages are a danger to sobriety, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) states they are acceptable. Before you decide to include mocktails in your holiday festivities, talk with your therapist to determine if they are a danger to your sobriety. If your therapist approves, consider creating a signature drink like Town and Country’s Hot Apple Cider.
The holiday season is a festive time for many, but not for everyone. The seasonal stressors, family drama, financial issues, loneliness, and seasonal affective disorder can have serious impacts on recovery. For those who experience one or more of these stressors, the added pressure of hosting a holiday party can increase their risk of relapse. If you are hosting a party, there are ways to decrease your stress while planning, prepping, and partying for a sober holiday party. However, you can find yourself questioning your sobriety or in need of support. You don’t need to cover up your mental health issues or risk relapse. Alta Centers supports your decision to seek substance addiction treatment. When we designed our secluded facility near the Hollywood sign, we did so because the sign is a beacon of hope. Our trained staff will help guide you as you work towards your goals. For more information, call Alta Centers today at (888) 202-2583.