For those trying to recover from substance use, the holidays can be rocky. New Year’s seems to be built around the concept of alcohol consumption, while the stress of the holiday season can generally trigger the urge to relapse. Those with eating disorders are surrounded by temptation and the urge for “just one” can lead you down the wrong path.
Recognizing the risk inherent in the holiday season is important for those in recovery, no matter their substance and no matter how long they have been clean.
This article explores the potential danger of relapse during the holidays and gives a number of tips to help you to enjoy the holidays while maintaining sobriety.
Washington State Drug and Alcohol Rehab Tips for Holiday Sobriety
To counsel you to avoid stress during the holidays is like asking the moon not to rise tonight. For most people, stress and the holidays are irrevocably tied together. In recovery, you are taught to break down the day by hours into achievable increments that lead you to health. Look at it this way; Christmas is just 24 hours long.
Here are three more tips to consider:
- Make a plan. Think ahead about the parties to which you will be invited. Are they appropriate for where you are in your recovery? Why are you attending? Will there be drugs there? Make a list of the types of non-alcoholic drinks you will consume or the foods you will eat. Practice what you will say when someone offers you a substance that you should decline. Can you take a sponsor or a sober friend as your “date” so he or she can watch your back and make sure you get home safely? Make sure your car is easy to access and is not parked in a place where you are stuck. These tricks will help you feel more in control in a holiday party setting.
- Put yourself first. Nothing is more important than your recovery. If you do not feel ready to attend the staff holiday party, be a no-show. Avoiding people or events that make you feel uncomfortable is okay. This is not selfish behavior. It is safe behavior. Your number one job right now is to protect yourself. Put your sobriety and yourself at the top of your list and work to protect the two most important things in your life.
- Work your support network. If you attend group therapy sessions, do not skip these because the holidays are busy. Find a meeting nearby and show up. Talk to your family and friends about how difficult this time of the year is and ask for their support. Put these people on favorites, and call them when you need help. Talk to your therapist about ways to create new traditions to replace the old, destructive ones.
Recovery is about finding that state of inner mindfulness that helps you slow down and consider yourself during the holiday season. With all the activity that a busy December can bring, it is important to pay attention to what you are feeling at the moment. Make the extra effort during the holiday season to enjoy your sobriety with gratitude and celebration.
If you would like to find out more about Washington State drug and alcohol rehab, contact us today and give yourself the gift of freedom from drugs this holiday season.