For a recovering alcoholic, the idea of a family get-together where there is alcohol creates the anxiety of being around temptation. As with most difficult things in life, loving support from people that care can be enough to stay on track. Winning the battle against alcohol abuse may not be a clear path without relapse, but always think about one day at a time.
Bring a Sober Buddy
Struggling through alcoholism is not always a problem that is shared with the world, in fact, most people try to hide it from the ones they love the most. There is no reason to feel the need to announce it to everyone unless you feel more comfortable letting them know. One of the worst feelings of a recovering alcoholic is to feel alone or left out when everyone else is having a drink. Invite a friend or make plans to stick by an attending family member that understands the situation.
Stand Up Against Pressure
Imagine being around a room full of people having fun and drinking while you sit around sipping water. You may feel like one of the under-aged kids or a party pooper. Having this frame of mind is often the reason that people feel the pressure to start drinking in the first place. Take a step back and you will probably notice that not everyone in the family drinks and they still have a great time visiting with the relatives. Politely decline any drinks and remind yourself that making it through a few hours of temptation is another successful sober day. If things get too tough, excuse yourself and return home to your safe place.
Offer to Be the Host
Depending on your family, traditions like a holiday get-together may be hosted at the same place each year. Ask to be the host ahead of time and send out invitations for the family to come to your place. It is not a big deal to include a detail about no alcohol being allowed, and don’t feel pressure to explain the reasons. On the other hand, it could be a great time to host a celebration of your sobriety if the family is aware of the recovery. Alcoholism and the perseverance to start over with a clean lifestyle is not something to be ashamed of at all. People that truly love you the way that family does should be supportive of your journey.
Do Not Go
No matter how new your sobriety is, being around certain people and situations might always create the urge to have a drink. It is not a sign of weakness to identify a trigger that is likely to lead to a relapse and taking the initiative to avoid it. We’ve all been faced with situations that we were uncomfortable with or chose to make an excuse to get out of attending. Imagine that family get-togethers have always been a time to party and cut loose, and you do not want to force everyone to change for you. Let the host know that you are not feeling well, have to attend work, or already have prior plans elsewhere.
Always remember that it is your choice to allow others to know that you are in recovery. If you feel that you would be judged, do not make yourself vulnerable to those people. A strong will does not guarantee that sobriety is ever going to be easy, but the strength to avoid trigger situations when relapse seems likely is a true sign of courage. If you or someone in your family have a problem with alcohol abuse, the best time to seek help is the current moment.