It’s always a good idea to spend this season with family members or sober friends who respect your recovery and are committed to helping you stay on target. Be mindful of time spent around your relatives – know your limits. And even worse, we most likely have strained family relationships that have been simmering for years. This type of stress can lead us to rationalize and convince ourselves we are entitled to a drink. Instead, surround yourself with supportive loved ones that will help you follow the steps to staying clean and sober. Think of H.A.L.T. as a tool that helps those in recovery focus on self-care.
For alcoholics and addicts, intensified feelings of loneliness and isolation during the holiday season can cause them to cope through substance use. Moreover, because of Covid-19, less access to recovery networks has made it harder for those in recovery to get the extra support they need during this time of year. Going home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or New Years can add a layer of stress for most people, whether sober holidays or not they are dealing with a substance use disorder. With the many celebrations, run-ins with not so pleasant relatives, and all of the holiday expenses, many find themselves struggling emotionally. For addicts and alcoholics, the stress and emotional turmoil can cause them to turn to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism or relapse if they are already in recovery. Many relapse triggers during the holidays are emotional triggers.
Help and Support
Packed airports, tight schedules, liquid lunch for Aunt Sally. Everyone is running on empty, and the annual fight is just waiting to happen. Recovery is a one-day-at-a-time endeavor, no matter the season. Having someone who can participate alongside you during treatment team meetings and who fully understands your treatment goals is important to your recovery. Having a support system can allow you to voice your struggles and frustrations to people who are non-judgemental, caring, and are legit there for you no matter what. When you choose someone to be that person, you should let them know that you value the relationship between the two of you and would like to be able to go to them in times of need. This might already be common knowledge between you and this person, and it is also good to tell them how much you appreciate their trustworthiness, support, and acceptance.
- If you come prepared to protect your sobriety, you should be able to outmaneuver addiction and avoid any potential relapses.
- If you have Wi-Fi on the plane, contact a friend in recovery for support.
- You may also find yourself surrounded by people whom you love, but find challenging, or remember and miss loved ones you have lost.
- Not to mention work and other responsibilities at the same time.
- It is often a conscious choice, no matter the reason.
- Volunteering your time throughout the year is an important thing to do because you can make a difference, find your greater purpose and keep a healthy perspective on life’s problems.
Some people may require interventions beyond H.A.L.T., such as medication and behavior therapy, as well as continued support from local 12-step programs. Planning for the holidays is essential to reduce those triggers that can induce relapse. Winging it through the holiday season is not the best practice if continued sobriety is the goal. Standing family traditions can make holidays tough for those in recovery. You may feel obligated to go to multiple events in one day, making it a long and tiring day.
What makes holidays and recovery so difficult?
But the pressures of the holiday season sometimes mean we are consumed with stress and anxiety rather than merriment. We can alternate between feeling spread thin by a packed social calendar, and feeling down if the season isn’t meeting our expectations. For some people in recovery, the holidays can be tough. But you can make it to January with your sobriety intact.
- We are going to discuss what makes the holidays so challenging for those in recovery and list a few tips for staying sober during the holidays.
- Or, if you will be on your own, plan for a taxi ride home, or arrange to stay the night.
- Attend more 12-step meetings right now to keep yourself grounded.
- Let your sponsor and sober network know of your holiday plans – they can offer advice and support.
- As long as you do that, how could you possibly be disappointed about anything else?