Maintaining Sobriety During the Holiday SeasonSeth Sparks
For many in recovery, the holidays are a source of stress. If you’re concerned about maintaining sobriety during the holiday season, know that you’re not alone. Now is the time to remind yourself why you no longer use drugs and alcohol, so you can position yourself to navigate this potentially difficult time of year.
Maybe this is your first holiday season in recovery, or perhaps you know that you tend to struggle during this time of the year. The holidays can be a struggle for so many people, especially if they normally attend gatherings where drug and alcohol use is commonplace.
Maintaining sobriety during the holiday season isn’t without its challenges, but keep in mind the following tips this year…
Gravitate Toward Loved Ones Who Will Help You Stay the Path
The holidays present several opportunities to socialize with friends and family members. In recovery, you need to reassess the nature of your relationships with certain loved ones. Not everyone will be a positive presence in your life, and this becomes especially clear during the holidays.
People you used to go to parties with may directly or indirectly encourage you to act in the same way you did before you started recovery. Avoid these people in favor of those who want to support your efforts in maintaining sobriety during the holiday season.
Avoid Spending Time in Stressful Environments
Whether your anxiety is set off by long lines of traffic, shopping malls or being in confined spaces with your loved ones, allow yourself a break from stressful environments whenever possible. Plan for minimum exposure to things that make you feel overwhelmed.
Mitigate the expectations of people who expect you to behave the same way you did in years past. For example, if you used to spend several days with family, but you needed substances to get you through it, let them know that you will be around for shorter periods this year. Consider traveling solo to events, so you won’t be dependent on others if you feel the need to leave.
Maintain the Routine That Works for You
During the holidays, your schedule will be more random than it is throughout the rest of the year. It’s vital to maintain whatever routine you have in place that gives your life consistency. If you wake up, eat or exercise at the same time every morning, continue to stay the course. Don’t feel pressured to meet social obligations if they threaten to disrupt the tools that you’re using to stay substance-free.
Remember – You’re Not Missing Out on Anything
In recovery, you’re wise to avoid situations where you’ll feel the urge to use substances. You might be tempted to think of all the things you’re missing out on during Christmas or New Year’s Eve parties. However, remind yourself that you’ve done these things before, so they offer you nothing new.
You’ll be surprised at how much you will enjoy maintaining sobriety during the holiday season. It might take time to get there, but your experiences will soon become richer and more engaging.
Many People Won’t Understand – Don’t Feel Obligated to Offer Excuses
Know why you’re making exceptions to your typical holiday plans. You’re doing what you need to do to maintain your sobriety. Now is not the time to worry about how your behavior will be interpreted by others. Be mindful of your needs and do what’s necessary to stay the path. If you don’t feel comfortable talking about what you’re going through, don’t feel pressured to do so.
Maintaining Sobriety During the Holiday Season Is About Prioritizing Your Health
Self-care is essential when in recovery. Stick to routines that serve you well, avoid people who will tempt you with substances and avoid situations that will make it difficult to stay sober. You have a pass to focus on yourself this holiday season, so make your health the top priority.
In some cases, friends or family members won’t understand your efforts to stay sober. Others might still hold your previous substance use and related behavior against you. Surround yourself with people who support you. If you are struggling to find those people in your life, know that others are going through the same thing. Consider finding a meeting to attend or reaching out for support from experienced professionals.
To Speak to Someone Who Understands, Contact R&A Therapeutic Partners
At R&A Therapeutic Partners, we know how challenging the holidays can be. If you or a loved one wants to speak to someone who can help, we encourage you to contact R&A Therapeutic Partners today. Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno have years of experience finding people the help they need to meet their challenges, so they can live fulfilling lives.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.