The holidays are ripe with stress and unrealistic expectations; it’s important to protect yourself from relapse during the holiday when the alcohol, excitement, and emotions flow more readily than usual. Those that have been in recovery from substance use disorder for a while, you’ve experienced the joy and inner freedom of being clean and sober. If you are a new member of the clean and sober club, there is hope. You can feel confident that the best years of your life are in front of you.
Use these strategic tips to support your sobriety over the next few months:
- Take the time to Pre-plan — When participating in holiday events, plan to take care of your own transportation by taking your own car, arranging a scheduled ride, or mapping out your public transportation route. When you have planned your own transportation, you control your future. Taking sober support with you and paying attention to relapse triggers like H.A.L.T (Hungry, angry, lonely, and tired) by arriving and leaving early.
- Prioritize self-care —- Celebrate yourself and the holidays by placing an emphasis on taking care of your body, mind, and soul. Give yourself the gift of self-care through an acupuncture treatment, yoga class, and scheduled meditation, and is available for your spiritual practice. Nutrition and physical exercise will make you physically and emotionally stronger.
- Support — The holidays are overwhelming at best. Your 12-step program offers the best kind of support for this time of year. Commit to attending a 12-step meeting each day and bring a friend for added support.
- Create boundaries around the time spent with family — We all have strained family relationships which can lead to rationalizing the need to drink. Creating family support that supports your sobriety and makes you feel loved will help you maintain your clean and sober lifestyle.
- Always come prepared —Bring your own non-alcoholic beverages and immediately open one to hold in your hand throughout the night. Walking around with a fresh drink will minimize the urge for your host to push drinks on you.
- Celebrate — Reframe the meaning of the holiday season and focus on the celebration of friendships, both new and old. Change the focus from food and beverages to people where you work towards intentionally building new relationships and connections.
- Nurture over gluttony — Tis the season but that doesn’t mean you get a hall pass on overindulging. Take this time to nurture yourself with good, healthy food that won’t make you feel guilty.
- Be of Service — There is great fulfillment and joy to be felt when you focus and actively look for ways you can be of service to others. Whether you make food for friends, donate time to serve the homeless, or spend time with someone who is all alone, you will benefit from the happiness and cheer you bring to others.
- Traditions — As you are reestablishing your life and what is important to you, now is the time to think about creating your own new traditions.
- Be on the lookout and avoid emotional triggers — Sobriety-threatening triggers can be everywhere, especially during the holidays. Emotional triggers are often the most significant and dangerous to navigate. Manage your own expectations of yourself and others, the holidays will never be “perfect” and that is okay. Knowing when to graciously decline an event or gathering will suit you well during the holidays.
- Prioritize your Sobriety — Holiday gatherings are abundant but are they necessary? If an activity or event is going to threaten your recovery, you can feel good about taking care of yourself by declining the invitation, it’s okay not to go.
- Nurture your higher power-—Our capitalistic society sells us the lie that our happiness comes from holiday tinsel, parties, and shopping. Instead of being swallowed up by commercialism, create and focus on what the holiday season means to you – giving and gratitude might be top of your list.
Are you feeling hopeful now that it is possible, with a little thought and planning, to Stay clean and sober this holiday season? When the focus is on developing relationships and being of service to others, the holidays can be quite fun.
If you’re seeking treatment for a loved one, our family program recognizes that addiction doesn’t only affect the person struggling with substance abuse. It also affects those around him or her. Our Texas rehab center has caring and compassionate staff members who will work with you in order to encourage and heal. We also want to encourage and heal the family, from the inside out. Contact us and let us get you on the road to recovery, call Healing Springs Ranch today.
Healing Springs Ranch provides recovery support. Some of the highlights of therapy include, in addition to the Core Curriculum groups, Psychodrama, Art Therapy, Anger Management, ETT, and a Wellness Program.
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