Let’s face it; holidays are the season of joy and happiness. People celebrate their holidays with close friends and family members. So many people look forward to this time of the year to give gifts to their loved ones, toast champagne, and make beautiful memories.
Yet, as fun and happy as these holiday moments might be for many people, they are often challenging for those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. That is because you might have to deal with lots of stress, anxiety, family pressure, and expectations. And to add to it, there will be a constant flow of alcohol at parties and festive gatherings.
Fortunately, there are various tried and tested ways you can follow to maintain your sobriety, even during the holidays. Thus, use the below tips to prevent yourself from relapsing and keep yourself sober during the holidays:
- Don’t turn your back on support groups
Holidays are all about spending time with your loved ones. As a result, you might feel tempted to skip counseling appointments or support group meetings with all your busy schedules. However, you must keep in touch with people in recovery or seek professional help.
Not sure where to find support? Consider reaching out to Delphi behavioral health group, which understands your recovery journey and helps you stay sober even during the holidays. The best part about it is you can reach out to and get support from recovery alumni who can help you manage your sobriety in these joyous yet challenging times.
- Be honest with yourself
One of the biggest hurdles recovery addicts experience during holidays is they think they have some extent of obligations for holiday plans. In reality, you don’t necessarily have to risk your sobriety for any person or occasion. Therefore, be honest with yourself and determine whether attending a particular holiday event or gathering is good for your health.
For example, do you think you would feel uncomfortable or can’t handle triggers during the holiday party? In that case, avoid putting yourself in such situations. After all, your main priority is your recovery.
- Make sure to have a plan
Staying sober during the holidays is much easier when you have a plan. Developing a plan beforehand can give you the confidence to cope well with uncomfortable situations and stay determined in your objective to stay sober.
So think about all the possible triggers and temptations you might encounter on your holiday and determine strategies for how you will cope with them. Your plan must include what and how you will do a particular thing. For instance, what would be your mode of transportation if you attend an event and wish to leave early, which events or gatherings you will attend, etc.
- Learn how to respond
There is no denying that holidays are all about eating, drinking, and being happy. However, a part of your plan must include how to respond when someone offers you drugs/substance or ask a certain question. For instance, some people during the holiday may provide you with drinks and even asks you why you aren’t taking their offer. Therefore, it would be helpful to decide how you will respond to them whenever such situations arise. Your responses may include: a simple yet firm “No thank you, I don’t drink,” or “Thank you, but I’m driving tonight,” or No thanks, I’m on medications.”
Additionally, is it your first holiday after becoming sober, and you are afraid you can’t turn down drinks offered by your friends? No worries, you can keep both hands engaged with non-alcoholic beverages.
- Know your relapse triggers
There is a high possibility that you will be going to places where you used to take drugs and get high. Or you might be meeting those people who pushed you to consume drugs. You might even grieve for the lost or broken relationships and feel the urge to abuse drugs or substances. The above scenarios might remind you of your drug/substance abuse, and your chances of relapsing might be higher.
However, suppose you wish to stay sober during this holiday season. In that case, you must learn effective coping strategies to prevent yourself from these relapse triggers. Thus, understanding your triggers and respecting your boundaries are two ways to maintain your sobriety.
- Self-care is important
One can never underestimate the importance of self-care. It is even more crucial for the person who is recovering from the addiction during their holidays. You might be thinking of throwing healthy lifestyle habits out of the window and thinking about enjoying holidays to the fullest. However, doing so isn’t wise. And while a few exceptions might be okay, deviating might increase your chances of relapse.
Thus, be mindful of the acronym H.A.L.T. and avoid getting hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Moreover, indulge in healthy habits. For example, consume a nutritious diet, get good quality sleep, meditate, exercise regularly, etc.
- Don’t be afraid to talk about your recovery
Previously, addiction and its recovery were a stigma. However, the good news today is many societies around the globe are becoming more accepting, hence getting rid of this stigma. Furthermore, most people understand that addiction is a treatable neurological disorder. Thus, if you wish to share your recovery battle or goals with others, it’s up to you.
Being open about your addiction and its recovery struggle might help you gain support and encouragement. Your friends or family members who know you are quitting addiction and are on the road to sobriety won’t push your buttons. In addition, there is also a possibility you might inspire someone who is trying to maintain sobriety during this holiday season.
- Keep yourself busy
Sitting around and being lazy might tempt you to use drugs. A big part of staying sober during your holidays is keeping yourself busy.
Holiday celebrations don’t limit drug and alcohol consumption. Instead, you can do many exciting activities to keep yourself alive and make the most of your holidays.
For instance, you can help your loved ones prepare holiday meals or go shopping. Or you can grab a supportive friend or loved one and participate in some volunteer work, such as playing with kids or pets, taking care of older people, etc. Spending your time engaging in activities can give you a sense of purpose and keep your mind away from negative feelings and thoughts.
No wonder countless people worldwide fight addiction and strive to emerge as clean and sober. So you are not alone in your recovery journey. And thus, you will find many other people struggling to maintain sobriety during the holiday season.
Whether you are newly clean or have spent years into your recovery, staying sober while enjoying holidays is a challenge. Yet, you can easily mitigate the risks of relapse this holiday with the proper planning and support system.