The holidays can offer wonderful opportunities during drug or alcohol addiction recovery to relax and enjoy being with loved ones, sharing great food, and making special memories. With all the festivities, it can be easy to get off track with the rehab program. People who have not yet developed fully effective tools for relapse prevention can find themselves at risk. So, if you or someone close to you is in treatment, here are some tips to help you stay fully committed to your sobriety during the holidays.
Have a Strategy for Staying Sober During the Holidays
Plan your holiday time to avoid circumstances that may be filled with too many triggers for you to handle well. Learning how to stay sober from drugs and alcohol relies on effective therapy for healing and strategies for managing triggers.
Here are some ways to manage your holiday time to side-step serious difficulties:
- Allow yourself to skip events that make you uncomfortable.
- Going to a group meeting, or even more than one on some days can be a good way to stay grounded and strong.
- Consider asking your sponsor or a friend in recovery to go with you to some events that you expect to be challenging for you. Or,
- Ask a friend or your sponsor to take your calls if you feel the need to touch base with them during some social events.
- Take your own vehicle or ride service so that you can say goodbye at any time if you feel the need to leave early.
Stay Vigilant in Recognizing Your Triggers
Even if you’ve been clean and sober for a long time, it’s wise to stay conscious of people and surroundings for potential triggers. For example, being with some family members for more than an hour or two may be likely to cause you too much stress or lead to conflicts that make preventing relapse more difficult for you. In such situations, you may need to make some tough choices.
You might consider not attending certain events or limiting the time you spend with some people you love but who tend to trigger you. Don’t feel obligated to stay in a situation in which you’re exposed to unmanageable triggers. Do what you should do to protect your recovery and health.
Be Open to Starting Some New Traditions
The world is filled with triggers for people who are susceptible to drug or alcohol abuse. It can be tempting to let old habits back into your life when holidays with your family or friends have traditionally included drinking alcohol, for example.
One helpful approach may be to skip the events that involve drinking and do something new. Volunteering to help people in need is one recommended option for redirecting your attention and spending some time during the holidays in a very different and satisfying new way.
Remind Friends and Family of Your Need to Avoid Using
You are fortunate to have supportive family members while you are in rehab during the holidays while you’re in recovery. People in rehab often determine they need to make more changes in their lives than they had expected. Everyone’s healing journey is different. Just ask your family for patience with you during the holidays as you continue your recovery work and practice patience with your loved ones too.
You can still enjoy family holiday celebrations and other seasonal traditions. Just keep in mind your freedom to respectfully say no to some invitations and to leave early from a party if you decide you should do so. Also, remember that you can start some new traditions that are conducive to your sobriety.
For Help Through the Holidays, Call Renaissance Recovery
Renaissance Recovery Center in Gilbert, Arizona offers highly effective customized evidence-based alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs. Our outpatient rehab features relapse prevention support groups and a variety of other outstanding treatment options for our clients.