Sobriety Around The Holidays
For many people in recovery, the holidays can be a difficult time. There are added pressures, anxieties, and old memories that appear as the year comes to a close. In many cases, individuals are separated from loved ones, or even more troubling – forced to spend time with their families. Staying clear of alcohol and drugs this holiday season may be a challenge, but there are a number of things that can be done to help make things easier. What can you do to maintain sobriety around the holidays?
The holiday season is filled with traditions and habits that in many cases have been handed down through the generations. Unfortunately for many of us in recovery, the celebrations of years past included and revolved around alcohol and drugs. As this festive time of year approaches, it is important to introduce new ways to celebrate. This is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with other friends in recovery that are likely experiencing the same thing, and to create new traditions. These don’t have to be extravagant or complicated, just simple things to help steer clear of they typical alcohol focused holiday gatherings that are plentiful at this time of year.
One of the most important things that a person can do as the holidays approach is to have a plan. Before an uncomfortable situation arises, it is a great idea to have some things in place to help navigate through them. This could mean bringing a sober friend along to certain gatherings, or having several people to call in case things become difficult. In some cases, it may mean skipping certain events all together. Making sure that there is a way out and that a person does not become “trapped” in a particular situation is a wonderful way to help alleviate some of the anxiety that may occur.
Put Recovery First
A program of recovery should be of utmost importance at all times of the year, but around the holidays it can be important to put a little extra into it. No matter what program a person is involved in, it is a great idea to spend some additional time strengthening it. Making a gratitude list, setting aside some daily quiet time, and spending time with others that have experience navigating this time of year are all wonderful ideas.
A key component to having a successful holiday season in recovery is to be open minded about it. It is important to remember that some feelings of anxiety or emotional highs and lows are completely normal. This goes not only for the individual in recovery, but the rest of the population as well! These types of feelings are what make us human, and if we are able to embrace them rather than mask them with drugs and alcohol, a large step toward long-term recovery has been made.
Use this time of year to celebrate life as you look forward to a new year in recovery!