Another huge holiday-related trigger is stress. This can be financial stress, stress related to perfectionism, or stress related to a lack of structure. As far as finances go, the holidays are generally a time when people feel pressure to spend a lot of money. They feel pressured to spend money on gifts, on food and drinks, and on holiday events (like New Years Eve parties, for example). If you start to feel stressed about your current financial situation, just remind yourself that spending money is not a requirement. In fact, the most appreciated gifts are often the ones you make yourself – the ones you put thought into. Make a scrapbook or photo album, or simply write a heartfelt card. Avoid hosting any get togethers in order to avoid spending money on refreshments, and find a party (if you feel like being social) that doesn’t charge an outrageous cover. Depending on where you live, you should be able to find a free sober event. There is also a certain pressure to be ‘perfect’ around this time of year. Christmas is portrayed in a very idyllic and unrealistic way in mainstream media – happy families gathered around the Christmas tree in their matching pajamas, singing songs and drinking hot cocoa. The best thing you can do for your sanity is let go of expectations! Finally, a newfound lack of structure can lead to stress. Time off around the holidays can feel overwhelming. If this is the case, implement your own structure. Find a list of local meetings, and map out a strict schedule of meetings that you’re planning on attending. Hold yourself accountable, and make sure that you have others (sober supports) holding you accountable too.