The holidays are here and that means it’s time for fun and festivities for everyone, but those of you in recovery know that this is easier said than done. A large part of many holiday traditions involve drinking to celebrate the occasion, whether it’s a work party for Christmas or a local winter festival your town puts together each year. On top of this are extra stressors such as planning gatherings or shopping for presents, all of which comes with extra pressure to create the perfect holiday.
But how do you manage all of this while still avoiding relapse? The right answer will be unique to everyone, but we have some tips to get you started on finding what works best for you.
1. Get Involved
The holiday season is all about catching up with loved ones and spending quality time together, preferably by a cozy fire. If you aren’t hosting an event, find out who is and see if they need help with preparations to create the cozy and comfortable atmosphere everyone loves.
You’ll get the satisfaction of helping out while also keeping busy while you wait for others to arrive. This tip is also useful when you’re feeling overwhelmed in a social situation and need a moment to center yourself.
2. Ask for Accommodations
Asking others for help is a challenge in itself when you’re in recovery, but those you spend your holidays with should be people that support you and want to help you succeed in recovery. You can request that there be non-alcoholic options to drink to make sure you always have a cup in your hand to avoid being offered a harder drink. Even just one drink is too much for someone in recovery, so politely decline any offers no matter how sincere and innocent in nature they are.
If you’re worried about the presence of alcohol being a trigger, ask the host to keep alcohol off the menu for the evening. At the very least, it lets them know your concerns and they can help keep an eye on you to be there when you need support.
3. Be Patient With Yourself
There’s likely to be speed bumps and hurdles along the way if this is your first holiday season in recovery, and that’s to be expected! You’re fighting a chronic condition that doesn’t take the holidays off. Expect to feel more emotional at this time of year and take better care of yourself accordingly. Make sure to eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise when you can. These may seem small, but each one can be a huge boost to your mood to help you get into the holiday spirit.
You also have your loved ones there to help as needed. Being patient with yourself also means knowing that you may need help to make progress at certain points. If you wait until you’re able to do it yourself, you may struggle to avoid relapse. If you need a more dedicated team to support you through the holidays, please don’t hesitate to reach out to America’s Rehab Campus to get started.