People Talking Celebrating Thanksgiving Holiday ConceptToday, the resources and guidelines available to help people in recovery are greater than ever. Today, we understand common pitfalls of recovery more than in the past. While it might sound surprising to some, the holidays often pose a major challenge for those in recovery for a complex set of reasons. However, being prepared for the holidays can help you enjoy the festivities while staying on the right path.

Why The Holidays Are So Trying

While the holidays should be a joyous time, the unfortunate reality is that they pose many challenges to the recovering individual. For one, there’s the standard stress that comes with being so busy and having to make plans, pick out gifts, etc. However, there are also uniquely significant challenges such as the difficulty of maintaining the discipline and consistent self-care that’s essential to staying at your best and resisting urges to relapse.

The holidays are seen as a time for excess and indulgence, but this mindset can be self-defeating. That isn’t to say that you can’t have a good time, but swapping the cocktails for cake or another benign outlet is a good idea. This kind of conscious decision-making and compromise is key to staying sober during the holidays.

How to Stay Sober During the Holidays

Everyone’s holiday circumstances are going to be unique and carry their own distinct obstacles compared to other people. While there are resources you can turn to for help, the most important thing is that you know what to expect. This means having a good plan for your time on the holidays, knowing your triggers, and having your coping mechanisms and responses planned out. A little bit of cooperation and support from one or two understanding friends or family members can go a long way to making things easier.

Make a Plan and Stick To It

While the holidays can be hectic, that doesn’t mean that you can’t plan for them. Having a sense of structure to fall back on or other responsibilities to deal with can help give you a sense of security and structure that makes the unexpected easier to handle. When your planned time to head home arrives, stick to it.

Understand Yourself

Are there specific people, places, or events that feel like they drag you down and make it feel harder to stay sober? If so, keeping an eye out for these triggers and either avoiding them or accounting for them is an important element of any strategy to stay sober. Likewise, think of what your plans will entail in terms of who you’ll be around. Is there anyone who doesn’t respect your boundaries or who refuses to believe in your genuine efforts to be better? If so, minimize contact with these people and try to stick to friendlier, more understanding and respectful family members.

Stay Busy

Whether you’re worried about being alone for the holidays or facing pressure to have just one drink, idleness is often the greatest enemy of someone in recovery. While at a celebration, keep a non-alcoholic drink with you and make conversation, have a good time, and try to avoid being bored. If you’re alone, fill the time with your normal routine, your hobbies, and perhaps spoil yourself with a gift or a bit of shopping. Either way, keeping engaged will make it much easier to avoid temptation.

Communicate Honestly and Openly About Your Experience

Healthy, open communication is one of the keys to building a positive lifestyle and maintaining long-term recovery. By speaking honestly about your experience, you can find relief, support, and understanding from many corners.

Drop Into a Holiday Recovery Meeting

While checking into a rehab can help you detox, that’s not all that a rehab is good for. Many operate over the holidays, and a group therapy session or peer support meeting can be a great source of advice and community.

Pay A Visit to The ARC

America’s Rehab Campuses (ARC) provides a full set of addiction treatment services including outpatient treatment and therapy. Whether you’re interested in finding long-term support for your recovery or simply feel the need for a one-off session, reach out to us when you need compassion and understanding.