For many people, holidays can be stressful and chaotic. What’s more, holiday parties and family gatherings often mix family drama with abundant alcohol. If you’re recovering from addiction to drugs or alcohol, the holidays can be a big test. However, the holiday season doesn’t have to derail your recovery. Here are some ways you can have a good holiday and resist the temptation to drink.
Don’t take a break from your recovery plan.
It’s tempting when you have a long break from work or school just to take a break from everything. However, it’s important to keep doing the things that have helped you stay sober. Make sure to get enough sleep and keep a regular schedule if you can. Avoid the temptation to binge on gingerbread and sugar cookies. Get a bit of exercise, even if it’s only building a snowman or playing touch football in the yard. If you keep a journal, pray, or meditate as part of your recovery, don’t stop just because it’s a holiday. If you’re part of a mutual aid group like a 12-step program, Refuge Recovery, or SMART Recovery, participate in your regular meeting, even if attendance is a bit thin. Many 12-step groups have holiday meetings for people who need them.
Focus on relationships rather than things.
Holidays are a huge source of financial stress for many people. Everyone expects gifts and no one wants to disappoint her friends and family. Set a budget for your shopping so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Focus on buying gifts that are meaningful rather than extravagant. Likewise, think of holiday gatherings as a way of connecting to loved ones you don’t see often enough, rather than just a gift exchange.
Bring backup to gatherings.
If you’re going to a holiday party or a family gathering where there will be alcohol, consider bringing backup to help you stay on track. It could be someone from your sober network, or just a friend you trust to hold you accountable. Just having someone there you can rely on will reduce your anxiety and make you less likely to reach for a drink. If there’s no one who can go with you, see if there’s someone you can call for moral support if you need it.
Have a safe drink ready.
You might want to bring your own non-alcoholic drinks, just so you’re sure there will be something there for you. If you have a drink in your hand, people will be less likely to offer you alcohol. You may still want an excuse ready just in case. Saying you have to drive or that you have an early day is usually enough.
Have an escape plan.
You don’t want to be stuck in a tense situation or be the only sober person at a party. Make sure you have a way to get home or that there’s somewhere you can go to get away from things if you start to feel stressed. Even a quiet room where you can be alone and collect your thoughts may be enough.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.