Holidays can be stressful for anyone, particularly for those in recovery. Besides the temptations to party hearty that seem to be everywhere, there are also the feelings of depression and being left out to contend with. Don’t let the holidays get you down or cause you to slip! Here are some tips to support recovery during the holidays:
Be sure to get enough rest. Let’s face it, when you’re tired, you’re more apt to make snap judgments that may turn out to be wrong, say something you wish you hadn’t, or find yourself entertaining thoughts of giving into the temptation to drink or do drugs.
Be selective about what invitations you accept. Depending on what time of year it is, you can expect to receive numerous invitations to parties and get-togethers. What it all boils down to is that you should exercise discretion. There’s just no sense putting your sobriety in jeopardy by going to places where people are drinking and/or doing drugs.
What’s in your glass only matters to you. When everyone around you is having a good time, drinking cocktails or whatever, do you really think it matters what you have the bartender pour in your glass? If you’re with family or close friends and someone wants to fill your glass for a toast, it helps if you prepare the host ahead of time to have your glass filled with a non-alcoholic drink.
Have back-up plans ready. It’s amazing how a simple tip can make all the difference. If you’re prepared with a reasonable response when you’re at a party and getting ready to leave and someone asks you to stay, it’s not only less stressful, it’s also essential. Here’s how it works: You always have something that needs to be done. Your response could be that you have to run an errand for your spouse or mother or you have an appointment you can’t miss. You get the idea.
Go late and leave early. You show up, talk to a few folks, and leave. End of story.
Spend your time with sober folks. Who understands the impact of the holidays on sobriety better than your fellow non-drinkers, non-addicts? Besides the fellowship and support, you’ve got someplace legitimate to go during the holidays. You don’t have to stress yourself about what to do or say.
Give thanks for your sober days. It may help to think about the number of days or weeks or months you’ve been sober. Just counting up the days can afford a measure of comfort and peace.
Call for help! If you feel you might stumble, call someone immediately. Don’t stuff your emotions! Call a sponsor, loved one, friend, spiritual leader, anyone. Get it out in the open and recognize it for what it is and move past it.
Keep busy. Be purposeful during the times when you know your sobriety is going to be challenged. Don’t overfill your schedule though, as this may lead to unwanted stress and pressure.
Take time to enrich your spirit. Material considerations often take center stage in people’s minds when it comes to the holidays. What often gets left out completely is attention to the spiritual aspect of the holiday. Get in touch with your Higher Power, “as you understand it.
Do the things that make you happy. Whether it’s exercise, nature, reading, a favorite hobby, make time to do the things that make you the most happy.
Holidays need not put you in a constant state of worry and panic. If you treat them just like any other sober day, you will get through them. Just remember, “One Day At A Time” is one of the best mantras you can remind yourself of on a daily basis.