The holidays are upon us. That means it’s time with family and friends. And for many of us, it also means being in the presence of alcohol or drugs, and we know what challenges that bring to the dinner table. So, to be sure this holiday season is what you want it to be, have a three-fold plan: (1) consult with your sponsor before any holiday planning; (2) if traveling someplace, research in advance for local meetings for recovering addicts; and (3) customize your holiday season according to three scenarios in which you may find yourself.
Scenario 1: Holiday Parties & Get-Togethers with Friends & Acquaintances
In this scenario, you may find yourself at a dinner party or other get-together and the crowd is a mix of people you know well, somewhat, or just met. Depending on the situation, you may not want to divulge you are going through recovery immediately, but you also don’t want to be the party-pooper. What do you do?
- Stay committed to yourself and recovery. Believe in yourself. Love yourself. And know that you can do it.
- Know someone. Prior to going to the party, make sure you know at least one person who knows you well and knows about your addiction. He or she will be a source of support and comfort.
- Be prepared. Stay away from any get-together you know will have temptations or triggers. That said, also be prepared about how you will turn down a glass or alcohol and other temptation. Then, you need to have an exit strategy; know your exit plan before going to the party, so you don't find yourself hesitating.
Scenario 2: Time with Family & Close Friends
Time with family and friends over the holidays, especially when they know you are a recovering addict, is always a great option. They may be aware of your addiction and your progress at recovering, and therefore, may be prepared to support you. But the holidays are a sentimental time, and though joyful, holidays can also bring about strong emotions that may affect you in ways you would not have anticipated. When that happens, have a plan.
- Be honest. Be honest both with yourself and your family and friends. Know your triggers so that you can address them with your family. You may not want to spoil the fun, but they likely don’t even realize how it is affecting you. To be clear. Speak up. And they will be happy you did so.
- Have fun. Try to let go and enjoy time with family and friends; it can be one of the most therapeutic activities for you.
- Know when is when. When the fun has stopped, know it and act on it. It’s best to exit when you are ahead of the game.
Scenario 3: Alone
This is probably the worst scenario for you. You may want some quiet time, but too much can take your mind to unknown places. So, when you find yourself alone, know what to do.
- If you are hungry, eat.
- If you are sad, call a close friend, relative, or your sponsor.
- If you are questioning yourself, remind yourself how far you’ve come and how important you are.
The best thing about holidays – apart from sharing them with family and friends – is celebrating. That means: celebrating you, for what you’ve been through, where you are, and where you are going. If you, nonetheless, find yourself struggling, contact us today to help you get the spirit of the holidays back again.