The holidays can be especially difficult for people in recovery. Many work, social, and family parties will include alcohol, making it a tough time for those working to stay sober. Plus, the holidays may bring up emotional stress and other relapse triggers. Today we are sharing a few ideas to help you stay the course on your road to recovery no matter what time of year.
10 Tips for Maintaining Your Sobriety During the Holidays
- View sobriety as your first priority or number one goal. The triggers will be plentiful, so always remember how and why you go to where you are. Look for strategies to remind yourself that sobriety is paramount at all times. Write your goal down each morning and put it somewhere you can see it. Remember to take recovery one day at a time.
- Have a Plan B. When faced with too many stressors, keep a back-up plan in mind. This may include stepping out of an event for a crisp walk outside, taking time for a quiet meditation, or even reaching out to a friend. If you feel too much pressure at one event, have a plan in place to leave.
- Allow yourself to be patient. Progress takes time, so let yourself move through and experience each day. Keep realistic goals and be mindful of how far you have already come.
- Identify and accept your emotions. While many people feel lonely around the holidays, people in recovery may face more severe anxiety, depression, and/or feelings of isolation. Don’t try to push through it, instead get help. Talk to a friend, loved one, or professional.
- Go to meetings. AA and NA groups are especially helpful during the holidays since you’ll be in a sober place with people who share in they day to day challenges of recovery.
- Say no. You don’t have to say yes to every holiday function. Stay home and watch a holiday movie instead. Ask a friend or family member over and bake cookies. Choose to participate in activities that are helpful not harmful.
- Adjust your expectations. No family is perfect, so release your childhood notions of a perfect holiday. Instead, look for ways to focus on making new, real memories or create new traditions. Aim to live in the moment and find the positive aspects of each situation.
- Prioritize a good night’s sleep. Exhaustion can put you at risk of holiday triggers, so sleep well. Aim for at least seven to eight hours each night, so you remain at your best.
- Fuel your body with healthy food. Instead of limiting yourself food-wise, simply look to increase your intake of fruits, veggies and water. Reduced processed foods and sugar will also keep your body energized.
- Ask for help. If you are feeling overwhelmed this season, there are people who can help you. This could be as simple as sitting and talking with a friend or seeking professional help.