Are you nervous about celebrating the holidays in your newfound recovery? Staying clean is always the most important aspect of recovery, and people are often worried about temptation during the holidays. Stress can be a trigger for many people. The stress that people experience during the holidays during recovery may sometimes feel like overload; after all, family, friends, and obligations can lead to temptation and other triggers that you’ll have to cope with.
Here are a few things you can do to make the holidays less stressful and more joyful, no matter who you are and what stage of recovery you’re in.
- Go to alcohol-free events. AA and NA meetings often have their own holiday parties, so make sure that you get out and mingle with your recovery friends. If your family is willing, ask them to go alcohol-free this year. If that’s not possible, ask for them to keep the non-alcoholic selections away from the alcohol so you can serve yourself freely without being near alcoholic beverages.
- Make a 12-step meeting schedule, and stick to it! The holidays are a bad time to isolate, and keeping yourself busy will help you cope with any feelings that come up. On the day of the holiday itself, many 12-step clubs provide meetings every hour. Plan to go to a meeting before and after family events when you’re stressed.
- It’s okay to say “no”. Your time is precious, and it’s okay to skip parties or gatherings where you don’t feel comfortable. You also don’t have to stay for the whole event; you can leave early, especially if there are stressors that might get to you.
- Check in with your sponsor and friends. Make a plan to text people and let them know how you are doing and let them know if you’re in a bad place
- Identify your triggers. Sometimes family can get to you in a way that makes you feel bad. Everyone has family stress this time of year; but for the formerly addicted, this stress can feel like a mountain to climb. Make a plan to avoid triggers, even if that includes people.
- Practice self-care. This could mean that you reward yourself with a long bath or an energizing hike every day. It can also mean meditating or spending time reading a good book for an escape. Choose something calm and healthy to recuperate.
The holidays can be a difficult time for anyone, especially if you are newly clean and sober and it’s been a while since you’ve been around some of your family. It’s okay to feel sad, angry or anxious, but it’s important to reach out and let your 12-step family help you out.
Don’t forget to enjoy your recovery and celebrate it. You’ve come a long way just by staying clean and sober today. Focus on the positive and embrace your sobriety. There’s a new year around the corner, and it belongs to you!
Consider Sober Housing
Many people who get clean in treatment find that sober housing helps them transition to a life of recovery. Being around people who support you and understand what you are going through is a great way to continue your journey as you learn to live life clean and sober. Consider making this move once you’ve graduated an inpatient program.