The holidays are supposed to be a time for happiness and relaxation. If you’re in recovery, you likely have a lot of concerns about the holiday season and spending time with others. These are natural feelings that many people in recovery experience. Additionally, it’s completely possible to have an enjoyable time if you take the right steps.
Make a Plan for Each Day
Boredom is challenging for many people in recovery, and unfortunately the holidays involve a lot of free time. If you’re struggling for things to do while off work, develop a plan for each day and stick to it. Start by writing down your plan so you know exactly what you need to do and when you need to do it. Having a plan is reassuring for many people, and it will prevent you from feeling restless or out of sorts.
Identify and Avoid Triggers
Triggers are those things that increase cravings for your drug of choice. For some people, spending time in bars or around alcohol is a trigger. For others, being around a certain family member or in a certain area can trigger problematic behaviors. Think about times you’ve relapsed in the past and what led up to the event. Once you can recognize your triggers, actively avoid them whenever possible.
Reach Out for Support
Support can come in many forms when you’re stressed about the holidays. Friends, family, and other people in recovery will be your lifeline when you’re feeling lonely or are dealing with cravings. Emotional support is a major factor in maintaining sobriety, so never be afraid to reach out to those who care about you.
Practice Conversing with Friends and Family
You may run into loved ones you haven’t seen for a while, who might ask why you’re not drinking or where you’ve been. Having a response ready for these situations alleviates some of the anxiety they cause. Decide how much or how little information you want to provide ahead of time. If you don’t want to disclose that you’re in recovery, just state that you don’t feel like drinking or are cutting back due to health reasons. There’s no need to go into detail unless you feel comfortable enough to do so.
Here at Duke City Recovery Toolbox, we understand holiday stress all too well. That’s why we make sure you have the tools you need to maintain your sobriety from one year to the next. In addition to our substance abuse programs, we also provide essential peer support specialists to encourage you forward in your recovery and afford guidance when it’s needed most. All support specialists have successfully completed recovery programs, which means they can identify with your struggles on a personal level.