Ahh, the holidays — they’re known to make up the happiest time of the year; but this sometimes proves to be a very unhappy time for some people, especially those who are trying to recover from addiction.
Everyone who’s celebrated a winter holiday knows about the hustle & bustle — the present shopping, the family gatherings, and (of course) the temptation. With eggnog and wine bottles everywhere we turn, it can become difficult to navigate.
The holidays bring some complications with them — from old hometown friends who were a bad influence, to distant relatives who keep asking “why don’t you have any wine?” It can spike stress, anxiety, and even anger in many people, including those who have chosen to stay sober this year.
If you have struggled with an addiction or are simply choosing to have a sober holiday this year, we have some tips to help you get through it with a smile on your face and a heart full of holiday spirit.
Here are 10 tips to help you get through the season sober & satisfied:
Eat Regular Meals
This first one might seem obvious, but it’s important to note: eat. It’s as simple as that. By sticking to a balanced diet and eating meals regularly (which you shouldn’t have a problem with during those delicious holiday dinners), you’ll stay energized & healthy — which can help keep your mind off substances.
Exercise & Meditate
While getting exercise & clearing your mind are more commonly mentioned in reference to New Year’s Resolutions, they’re important to practice during the end of the year more than ever. Sticking to an exercise & meditation routine will help you keep your mind & body clear.
Create New Traditions
Did your old traditions involve something from your past that triggers or upsets you? Throw them all away. Toss them out the window & replace them with new holiday traditions that you’ll want to remember forever.
Avoid People Who Fuel Your Addiction
Old friends: we love to hate them, right? Well in this case, stay far away from them. If you’re headed home for the holidays and are contacted by someone who was a bad influencer on you or was a big part of your addiction history, try to keep your distance from them this year.
Limit Family Time
This sounds a little harsh, but it might be necessary. If your family members trigger you or stress you out to the point of wanting to use again, it’s best to limit your time with them as much as possible and stay focused on your sobriety.
Have a Backup Plan
It’s likely that you might end up somewhere with alcohol during the holiday season. Establish a plan that if the moment comes when you need to leave an event, you’ll feel calm and prepared to remove yourself from the situation.
Get A Response Ready
You know you’ll probably get the question “why aren’t you drinking?,” so you might as well have an answer prepared. Coming ready with a response will help take some pressure off of you if friends or family want to talk about anything related to substances or addiction history.
Bring A Sober Buddy
Everyone needs a support system. If you’re going to a gathering with friends, bring a buddy who will stay sober with you and find other ways to have fun throughout the event.
Find Meetings Anywhere
If you find yourself craving a drug or alcohol during the holidays, there’s help everywhere you turn…literally. In every area of the country, there are dozens of AA and support meetings taking place that can help you get back on the right track.
Become a part of something that’s bigger than yourself this holiday season. Giving back in any way, from volunteering at a soup kitchen to donating gifts, can help you feel a sense of warmth and purpose. This will help you realize that you’re here for a reason, and you don’t need substances to feel fulfilled.
The holidays can certainly be a tricky time to navigate if you’re on the journey to recovery, but you are not alone. As you can see, you can find support from as close as your living room to as far as an AA meeting a few streets away.
For more tips on staying sober during the holidays and beyond, contact our team of professional mental health and substance abuse experts. Call our admissions team at 866-345-2147.