From Halloween through New Year’s Day, the holiday season is a roller-coaster ride of family get-togethers, work parties and extravagant meals. It can be especially challenging to maintain a substance-free lifestyle during this stressful time of year. How can you proactively preserve your sobriety during the holidays?
1. Avoid Known Risks
If you know someone might pressure you to drink or take drugs, it’s best to steer clear of them altogether. Your recovery must remain your top priority, even in the holiday season. It’s OK to say no and protect your boundaries when you feel triggered. Anyone who genuinely has your best interests at heart will understand the goals you’re working so hard to achieve.
2. Bring a Plus-One
When you get invited to a holiday get-together, invite your sponsor or a friend from your recovery support group to join you as your plus-one. The additional layer of support will benefit both of you by helping you avoid cravings and keeping you accountable.
3. Seek Additional Support
Amid the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it may be beneficial to go to extra 12-step meetings. Your fellow members can keep you grounded, remind you that you are never alone and help strengthen your resolve when you encounter challenging or stressful circumstances. If you plan to travel for the holidays, take the initiative and research recovery groups near your destination.
4. Talk to a Therapist
Many people need additional emotional support during the holiday season. As a neutral third-party observer, a therapist can give you valuable advice on healthy ways to cope with stress and triggers. In counseling, you can acquire coping skills that let you navigate ups and downs and view the world through a more positive lens.
5. Give Back to Your Community
Breaking the cycle of substance abuse is a challenge you can’t conquer alone. Once you are sober, you can pay it forward by volunteering for an organization you believe in. Serving others in your community throughout the holiday season and beyond lets you connect to a cause that’s larger than yourself, put your problems into perspective and reap the mood-boosting benefits of doing something altruistic.
6. Use Self-Care Strategies
Working through the 12 steps will help you recognize and manage the triggers and cravings that often lead to a relapse. You can use self-care to protect your sobriety during the holidays, whether you choose to exercise, do yoga, meditate, listen to music or take a relaxing bath.
How to Prevent a Holiday Relapse
If you are worried about returning to drug and alcohol abuse this holiday season, or if you’ve already relapsed, you may wish to consider a program focused solely on the transformative powers of the 12 steps. At Still Waters, our 12-step retreat for men and women is ideal for people who have not had success with traditional treatment, have relapsed after a period of sobriety, want to dig deeper into step work or are looking for a more affordable addiction treatment program. To learn more about how we can help you, reach out to us today.