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5 Tips for Holidays in Recovery

In the middle of a party where it seems like everyone is having fun and that alcohol and drugs are part of that fun, your reasons for staying sober can sometimes seem to just fade away. The holidays can magnify feelings of loneliness, strained finances, or difficult family relationships, all of which could lead to feelings of wanting to drink or use drugs. Travel can also throw some off from their normal routine, especially if they regularly go to recovery support group meetings. Make plans with your friends in recovery from your sober living facility, your 12-Step or other support meetings, exercise groups, work, or other places you have sober friends. The benefit of surrounding yourself with friends in recovery is that you mutually support one another. You may not be the only one trying to navigate the holidays without family.

  • The holidays are often wrought with a mix of emotions under the best of circumstance.
  • It is important, especially in early sobriety, to never feel trapped at any holiday social gatherings, especially since there are likely to be temptations or triggers that need to be averted.
  • However, you can be alone and not feel lonely, and you can feel lonely even when you are not alone.

Readers are urged to seek professional help if they are struggling with a mental health condition or another health concern. Shutting down is the worst thing you can do in the face of a problem—whether you’re in addiction recovery or not. I can’t think of a single instance in my life when isolating and pitying myself made anything better.

Dec A Framework for Staying Sober Through the Holidays in Early Recovery

The following tips may help you make new holiday traditions as you work to build your new life in the New Year. As mentioned above, the best suggestion is to seek guidance from others who have been in a similar situation before. The priority is for the person in early recovery to have the best opportunity to stay sober through the holidays and for the entire family to enjoy this special time together. Every emotionally challenging situation a sober young person is able to face, the stronger his or her recovery will be.

However, these events often feature alcohol as a main event, making them difficult for newly sober people to enjoy. The 2020 holiday season may be a perfect storm of negative emotions and triggering events for people in recovery. Because of this, it’s important to know what to do to avoid triggers, cope with emotions and prevent risks of relapse. The following will provide some tips for maintaining recovery over the holidays, whether you’re in active treatment or long-term recovery. Addiction during the holiday season can be particularly challenging, but it’s important to remember that recovery is possible.

Struggling with addiction?

Therefore, it’s important to attend as many recovery meetings as you can during this time and spend time with family and friends who are supportive of your recovery. If you are in early recovery, you might think that celebrating the holidays is going to look quite different than in recent years. Attending alcohol or drug rehab means you are already aware that relapse is something you must always guard against. Yet the holidays, especially during early recovery, can be a time of great joy and celebration even as you struggle with your addiction.

  • Healthy boundaries and clear communication can help start the holiday season with a clean slate for forging future connections.
  • Taking Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone) with other opioid medicines, benzodiazepines, alcohol, or other central nervous system depressants can cause breathing problems that can lead to coma and death.
  • Whether you’re ready to share that part of your life or not, this can make getting together with family stressful.

If you’re in outpatient care, you may still be on shaky ground when it comes to your sobriety. You are sober, but treatment is not over, and you may not have effective relapse prevention strategies in place yet. As such, it’s important to be extra careful, whether you’re staying at home or attending events. If you previously viewed the holidays as a time of parties and indulgence, it can be helpful to amend your point of view so that you look at the holidays as a time of connection and re-connection. Get in touch with old friends–friends leading a healthy lifestyle and not your “party” friends. These are the people who can provide you with the emotional support you need to enjoy a stable recovery period.

Avoid sugar

These strategies don’t have to be difficult, but they are easy to let slip when life gets stressful and busy. Have a plan to break the stress cycle by going for a walk, talking it out with a friend, or getting a hug from a family member or friend. Making a plan ahead of time can make it easier to reach for coping tools when your emotions start to run high.

For individuals in early recovery, staying sober can be a challenging task at any time of the year. However, the holiday season can bring about additional stressors and pressures that can make staying sober seem even more daunting. The thought of attending additional social commitments and family gatherings may bring about feelings of distress and overwhelm.

For individuals who have spent the past year surrounded by sober peers, having to spend this concentrated time home and with those who may not truly understand or respect their sobriety process may be stressful. Heading into the New Year can also be a time of reflection and even sadness about which direction life is going and which milestones a person believes they should have already reached. The holiday season is known to bring about various emotional triggers pertaining to the areas of substance abuse and trauma. While the holidays can increase the availability of substances and bring about stressful social commitments, several other factors can make this time of the year particularly challenging for individuals in recovery. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains “[T]he holiday season is fraught with triggers such as songs, scents, and rituals.

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