These last few months of the year bring a stream of celebrations that range from gatherings with family and friends to work parties. While often full of love and joy, they can also be overwhelming and exhausting, especially for those recovering from addiction.
Navigating recovery during the holidays can be challenging in all stages of recovery. A person’s mental and physical health is still fragile at the beginning of recovery, as their minds and bodies are simply re-learning how to function without the assistance of substances.
Some experience a decline in their mental health around the holidays for different reasons. While this is not concerning in and of itself, unless left unaddressed or untreated, it can be an influential factor when temptations to relapse arise. We’re here to help you keep that from happening.
In this article, we’re going to give you a brief overview of addiction and the holidays, as well as share with you the best tips for continuing your sobriety and recovery during the holidays.
Addiction and the holidays
The holidays can be stressful for anyone but can be especially challenging for those actively in addiction recovery. Depending on how far along you are in your journey, there will be different challenges you face as you navigate your recovery during the holidays.
People who are in the beginning stages of recovery often struggle with acute triggers, meaning they might not yet have the capacity to turn away from temptation when it arises. Those who are further along in their journey may have the mental strength to be in such an atmosphere (such as catching up with friends at a bar on Thanksgiving) without experiencing an irresistible temptation to indulge.
One of the biggest elements of maintaining your sobriety and continuing your recovery during the holidays is going to be your self-awareness. Know where you are at in your journey, accept any current limitations and remember that it won’t always be this difficult.
How to celebrate the holidays sober
A sober holiday season brings a unique opportunity to connect more deeply with your family and friends, as well as come up with some pretty creative celebration ideas. We’re going to share five of the most popular practices for having an amazing holiday season with you now.
1. Choose parties and people wisely
If there’s a party going on that’s being hosted by a self-proclaimed alcoholic, don’t go. If you’re invited to a gathering by someone who you know thinks sobriety is boring (and will probably spend the evening pressuring you to drink), don’t go.
Spend your time with people who love you, support you and want you to achieve long-lasting sobriety above all else. This is one of the most effective ways to solidify your new sober lifestyle.
2. Host your own party
One of the easiest ways to stay sober at a party is to attend a sober party. You might find someone who’s doing this, or if not, you can always do it yourself. Whether you make it an adult game night, a dinner party, or something else altogether. Hosting a sober party doesn’t have to be fancy, and it gives you control which allows for no triggers.
You can even provide a mocktail bar for people to create their own unique beverages.
3. Bring a sober friend
Attending a gathering where people are drinking can feel very isolating and trigger the fear-of-missing-out itch. Someone who is able to resist alcohol in a controlled environment (such as dinner with a few friends) might experience more temptation when surrounded by others who are actively indulging.
Bringing a family member or friend who’ll commit to spending the evening sober with you can be far more positively influential than you might think. If you’re feeling awkward about asking them, put yourself in their shoes for a moment; would you say no to them if the roles were reversed? Or would you give them a hug and affirm you absolutely will be their sober buddy because you love them and want to help them recover in any way you can?
4. Attend a sober gathering
You are in addiction recovery; it’s an incredible choice, but it’s also an intense one that is full of ups and downs. Some of your family and friends might be so eager to leave the addiction behind that they (usually unintentionally) act as if it never happened, and try to pull you back into interactions and functions as if you aren’t recovering from something traumatic.
Attending a support group or some other form of sober gathering brings a level of encouragement and relief too, that our loved ones who don’t understand can’t provide.
Contact us for additional support
Real Recovery Clinical is a renowned treatment center that specializes in evidence-based treatment for substance use and mental health disorders.
We offer proven clinical services to help you establish habits that will foster long-lasting positive change so you can lead a life of health, happiness, and purpose. Our compassionate team is committed to guiding you every step of the way.