The holiday season can be stressful for all of us, whether we are in recovery or not. Overindulging in everything from food to alcohol, over-spending seems to be in vogue, and then we are expected to “hit the reset button” come January 1st. Living in excess is not particularly healthy for anyone, but for those of us in early recovery, trying to avoid it can be extremely daunting.
Here are 6 tips for helping you survive the holidays in recovery by celebrating with sobriety.
1. Plan Ahead
Doing some planning around the holidays can help decrease the stress associated with having to get through them without losing one’s sobriety. First, it is important to talk to close friends and family members who will be attending parties and gatherings with you and ensure that everyone understands what you want them to say to others who may ask why you are not drinking. There is nothing worse than someone approaching family members asking why you are not partaking in the holiday cheer and your family not knowing what to say, or perhaps telling more information about your situation than you are comfortable sharing. Having this conversation well ahead of time can spare everyone involved the worry and possible hurt feelings and anger that could occur if we decide to “wing it” with regards to how to handle questions.
2. Be Accountable
Have someone hold you accountable before and after holiday events. “Bookending” with a friend, a family member, a therapist or a sponsor can really help put you in the mind frame to hold your boundaries and stay true to your sobriety. It can also help you feel that you are supported and that you do not have to do this alone!
3. Bring a Buddy
If possible, bring a recovery friend or sober buddy along with you to parties. Feeling as though you have an ally in the room can decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness as well as social anxiety.
Also, have a non-alcoholic drink in your hand at parties or gatherings to avoid having people offer you drinks and/or questioning why you are not drinking.
4. Self Care
Practice self care. Although others may be overindulging, there is no reason to feel deprived during the holiday season. In addition to ensuring that you are getting proper sleep, nutrition and exercise, consider treating yourself to a massage, manicure, yoga class or spa afternoon.
5. Start New Traditions
Create new holiday traditions that do not focus on alcohol or other excesses. Consider starting a holiday get-together for your recovery friends that focuses on the importance of recovery and the gifts of sobriety.
6. Prevent Cravings
Always remember the HALT acronym. Do not let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Often cravings occur when we are experiencing these feelings, so recognizing them and working a bit harder to prevent them can make maintaining recovery much easier, especially during the holiday season, when we are all a bit more vulnerable to these emotions.
There is no reason you can’t enjoy yourself during the Holidays, but do plan ahead and follow these 6 tips to help you stay sober and happy.
If you or someone you love would like more information or help with addiction or drug or alcohol abuse, contact New Hope Recovery Center at 773-883-3916 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Written By: New Hope Recovery Center
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