Jelly Beans not Jell-O shots: Staying Sober Over Easter

Apr 25, 2023

Thank God there isn’t any green beer for the approaching holiday. No mid night toast. Just jellybeans no Jell-O shots. With Easter around the corner, many families are planning get-togethers to celebrate. 

If you are newly sober a family gathering with the mix of personalities, opinions, emotions and tension can create conflict.

I've always said that alcohol and drugs weren't the problem they were a solution that stopped working.

Escaping into drugs and alcohol was a solution to family conflict. Unfortunately escapism was a solution that led to greater problems in the long run.

One way in sobriety to diffuse family conflict is to lean into nonviolent communication (NVC). NVC is a communication style that focuses on empowering the other person. 

I had admit that early in sobriety, when I got in the ring, I was in it to win it. I wasn't interested in empowering the other person. Most often the conflicts that I got into with family members were over silly shit that I couldn't remember. I had no idea what started the argument, and yet I was damned if I was going to lose the fight

In long-term sobriety, my perspective has changed greatly. Rather than trying to persuade my family members to see things my way. I listen with empathy. 

Marshall Rosenberg author of nonviolent communication starts with a powerful step. He suggests we make observations in the form of reflections without evaluation.

Here are a few tips for using NVC during Easter celebrations:

1. Listen with empathy.

When someone is speaking, make an effort to really listen and reflect what they said back to them even using some of the same words. Make an effort to understand what they are saying. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk; try to see things from their perspective.

2. Own your feelings. 

Did learn “I” statements? For example, “I feel angry when you…” This is crap. You can still be ridiculously judgmental when making an eye statement. I feel angry when you act like such a dick. Rosenberg oh, says that you don't need to use the word feeling in a sentence about feelings. In fact, it dilutes the feelings. Try it in what you feel. For instance, say I'm annoyed. Don't add when you sit around not doing the dishes after I made all this effort. That brings me to number three.

3. Avoid the blame game.

Don’t use phrases like “when you” or “you’re being irrational.” These statements will only lead to the other person becoming defensive and the communication will come to a halt.

4. Make requests not demands.

This can be difficult. Rosenberg I suggests starting the sentence with the words would you be willing? it’s important to accept a no as the answer.

Let me know if these tips have been useful during your upcoming Easter celebration.

If you are struggling with the temptation to drink or use during the holiday know that you are not alone. One of the best things that has come out of the pandemic is how much support there is online for those of you wanting to maintain sobriety, and it is more anonymous than ever.

Staying sober during the holidays can be difficult, and it is definitely possible. I've doing it for 42 years.

Reduce your chances of relapsing and enjoy the holiday season.

Go to my website, and listen to one of the many LTGW Podcasts. 

You are not alone. 


Nanci Adair