Be Thankful for Your Recovery: Staying Sober During the Holidays
The holiday season can be a wonderful time spent with family and friends—enjoying good food and fond memories with people you love. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for everyone.
For those in the early stages of alcohol recovery, holiday get-togethers can be stressful events. You might worry about what your friends and family will think or say. Maybe your family has a habit of bringing the worst out of each other when everyone’s together.
Others are estranged from their family. A lonely holiday experience could bring on feelings of isolation or depression which can be powerful triggers for relapse.
Let’s look at some ways you can embrace the positive potential of the holidays while hanging onto your recovery.
Breaking the News That You’re Dry During the Holidays
For the newly sober, this might be the first time you’ll be interacting with members of your extended family after choosing sobriety. The topic can be awkward—particularly around family and friends who still drink. Here are some things that can help you be more confident in addressing the subject.
- Acknowledging that you’ll feel awkward ahead of time can better prepare you to deal with those feelings.
- If people react negatively to your news, that’s their issue and not yours.
- Understand that you may hear something insensitive or careless. The only thing you can control is how you respond.
- Your real friends will support you. People who truly care about you won’t abandon you.
Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays with Family
When you’re sober for big holiday gatherings, you’ll be able to better appreciate the company, conversations and food. The next day, you’ll have clearer memories without the discomfort of a hangover or the guilt of relapsing. Follow these tips to stay strong in your sobriety over the holidays.
- Avoid hot-button issues (like politics) that frequently devolve into arguments.
- Let go of negative expectations based on bad holiday experiences from your past.
- Identify potential triggers and plan how you will handle or avoid them in advance.
- Don’t skip counseling or group meetings throughout the holiday season.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. Trying to save room to overindulge at lunch or dinner can throw your body (and mood) off balance.
- Make plans with friends and family. Take in a movie, break out the old photo albums or do some holiday shopping.
Avoiding Relapse Triggers with New Holiday Traditions
For those without a healthy family situation, it might be better for your recovery to pass on the get-together. That doesn’t mean you have to spend the holidays alone. You can make a break from bad old habits and situations and start new holiday traditions.
Homeless shelters and soup kitchens experience high demand during the holidays. Serving those in need can be a powerfully rewarding experience.
Talk about the holidays with friends. You may find a few that are in a similar position. This could be a great opportunity to support one another.
It is okay to spend the holidays alone, too. If you’re a sports nut, enjoy any of the sports games that’ll be on. Take some time off to catch up on that series you’ve been meaning to check out on Netflix. Or if you’re trying to be more productive, start that project you’ve been putting off. It’s your holiday. Use it however you want!
Alcohol Rehab in Lancaster, CA
More alcohol is consumed throughout the holiday season than any other time of year. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, this season can be particularly challenging. One thing you can be thankful for this season is that you don’t have to solve this problem on your own.
At Design for Change, we help clients overcome addiction every day. We offer a variety of rehab programs that are tailored to meet the needs of each individual client. In recovery, you’ll learn about the disease of addiction, healthier ways to cope with difficult emotions and how to avoid relapse.
Make a positive, lasting change for which you can be thankful. Talk to one of our admissions specialists and start your recovery journey today.