The holidays are a time for gifts, snowmen, homemade sweets, and precious memories with the people we love. However, they can also be more stressful than any of us like to admit, and this is doubly true for people in recovery. When the holidays are approaching, it pays off to appreciate the challenges you’ll have to deal with and to prepare for them so that you can have fun and remain secure in your sobriety.
Getting Through the Holidays in Recovery
There are all sorts of causes for people to relapse or otherwise struggle with the holidays when they’re in recovery. A few of these issues are:
- Pressure to drink alcohol
- Plans, schedules, etc. can become overwhelming
- Social obligations and family relationships strained by past drug abuse can be sources of stress
- Compromising on your healthy routines due to time constraints, seasonal commitments, etc.
However, it’s impossible to make a comprehensive list of potential holiday challenges as each person’s circumstances are different. You can still take steps to prepare yourself, though.
Sleep Well and Take Care Of Yourself
No matter what life throws your way, it’s easier to handle when you’re already feeling good and comfortable in your own skin. When the holidays or any other big event come along, take special care not to compromise your rest and general self-care leading up to it.
Maintain Some of Your Usual Structure
During the months that a person goes through inpatient rehab, one of the greatest emphases lays in building healthy routines and coping mechanisms. These prepared responses to stress and reliable fixtures of the day help give someone structure that plays a valuable role in resisting the urge to relapse. However, it can be hard to maintain these habits in the face of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The best thing you can do is be pragmatic and adhere to as much of your routine as practical, while not beating yourself up for the elements you miss.
Make a Plan and Stick to It
It’s much easier to avoid relapsing if you have a schedule for your celebrations and keep to it. The pressure to drink is generally going to become more pronounced as the evening wears on and the other adults begin to overindulge in alcohol, after all.
Have a Reason to Leave On Time
If you suspect that friends and family will encourage you to stick around beyond your plan, cite an important reason you need to get back home. Maybe you left the kids with a babysitter, or perhaps you have an errand to run. Either way, have something ready so that you know what to do and can follow through with the right decisions.
Prepare for Any Difficulties with Family
Every family has its problems, and a past of addiction can result in some family members causing problems for you or casting doubt on your recovery. Even if everyone is supportive, it can be hard to face the reminder of the ways addiction might have strained your familial relationships. Either way, it’s important to be realistic and honest with yourself about your thoughts and feelings so that you can prepare for any triggers or stressful situations that may arise.
Strive to Keep a Positive Framework
When everything is a dreary exercise of willpower to stay clean, it’s much harder and can drag down the holidays as a whole. Instead, take heart in the alternatives that you can pick. Instead of enduring the temptation to drink, sidestep it altogether by playing videogames with the kids who aren’t going to be drinking to start with.
Rather than having to go through an alcohol free celebration, you get hundreds of extra calories to enjoy grandma’s famous pumpkin pie. That’s not to say that it’s all fun and games, and the holidays can be a struggle; but finding the positives where you can is a powerful choice that can help you have a better time than you might otherwise.
Find Support This Holiday Season with America’s Rehab Campuses
One of the best things you can do for yourself during the holidays is find time for a group meeting in the run-up to a celebration and the days after. Reach out to America’s Rehab Campuses to learn more about joining one of our counseling sessions this holiday season.