Staying Sober During the Holidays
The end of the year is approaching. With that, comes a variety of holidays and celebrations that can sometimes leave us feeling stressed, even sad. Each person is different in how they feel during the holidays.
When striving to live alcohol & drug free, feelings play an important role in what people choose to do in the moment. Recovery is about learning to cope in healthy, alcohol-free and drug-free ways.
In early recovery, before a person is well-established in their program, they may experience intense feelings around the holidays. These intense feelings may include persistent cravings, loneliness, guilt, or boredom. For some, celebrations and parties pose a heightened risk of relapse. For others, it may be isolation that is the hardest thing to handle.
Treatment teaches that certain environments or situations can put an individual in sudden jeopardy of relapse if he or she find themselves around others who are using. If you are in such a situation, it is imperative that you leave immediately. Never linger around in a high risk situation. The temptation to use will only build.
Staying sober through the holidays takes a new plan of action that leaves little to chance. If you are in early recovery and aiming to have a sober year end, it will be important for you to think about your choices and to plan for how you will spend your time.
Addiction, as an illness, feeds on isolation and apathy. If you plan to be with others and have some safe places to go, chances are that your mind will be occupied and you will be surrounded by others who respect & support what you are trying to achieve with a new sober life.
If you are currently in treatment, please discuss your feelings about the holidays with your counselor, group, sponsor, and supports. Process, out loud, what you think may help you through the holidays. Seek the feedback of those you trust, and listen to others share what has worked for them in having a sober, drug-free holiday experience.
If you find yourself with no present supports, please consider attending a 12 Step meeting, community function, or church service. Sometimes we surprise ourselves when we take a positive risk and try something new. Note that ADS has links to local 12 Step meetings on the homepage of our website.
If you are in treatment or in personal recovery, you are hopefully proud of the commitment you have made to yourself to move forward. ADS truly values those who want a better life. Let this upcoming holiday be a safe one. Make a plan. Seek support. And no matter what, always come back.