Merry & Bright #3

By Erin Schindler

Back in September I did several articles about taking off time from drinking. A really cool thing came
from that! A LOT of people took the month off and a lot are still not drinking! It makes me so happy to
see people realize that something isn’t working in their lives and then they CHANGE it! So, if you are
trying not to drink during the holidays, or you are a recovering alcoholic like me, how do we navigate the
holidays?

Drinking for many of us can be what helps us coast through the holidays! However, drinking
can also take a lot of the joy out of holidays. Alcohol is a depressant and if you are trying to feel better
or keep your diet on track, alcohol can really hurt any attempts.

If you are thinking about not drinking, or thinking about how to navigate the holidays without drinking,
or drinking less, you need a plan! Christmas parties and work parties are probably already coming up. If
you must go or want to go, plan ahead.

Decide how long you are going to stay and decide how many drinks you will have and what you will eat. If you are attempting to not drink, let whoever you are going with know so you are accountable to them. If you are going alone, let a friend or co-worker know what you are planning. As for family occasions, do the same thing. Nothing wrong with leaving early. There is also nothing wrong with saying “no”! It is perfectly okay to have boundaries to take care of yourself.

If you must go to family gatherings where there is a lot of drinking and you don’t want to drink, bring a
game or a card game to have something fun to do instead of drinking. Bring cookies to decorate. Create
a fun mocktail. Get everyone to go sledding or ice skating. And of course, have a sober friend on speed
dial.

It is more than possible to get through hard times without using drugs or alcohol.

It is more than possible to get through fun times too without drugs and alcohol!

Remember the reason for the season; giving and gratitude. Happiness doesn’t come from shopping and
booze.

Make gratitude lists and think daily about the things you really appreciate it your life.

Keep track of your friends that may not have a place to go.

Keep track of your friends that struggle with mental health and reach out to your friends in recovery.

300 people died everyday this year of an overdose.

130 people died everyday from suicide.

Together we can get through anything!

Merry Christmas! Have a blessed and wonderful month! Please feel free to reach out to me with any
questions and feel free to post ideas that have worked for you to navigate the stress of the holiday
season.

Email Erin Schindler at/ Elizabeth@thehouseofobrien.com with any questions or ideas.

Happy Holidays!!

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