The holiday season can often be challenging and difficult for those in recovery. Despite the lyrics that now is “…the most wonderful time of the year…”, it can also be a time where all the heightened pressure, expectations, and stress that accompany the season can feel overwhelming.
Coping in healthy ways is the key to keeping your recovery intact and maintaining your sobriety throughout the holiday season. Here are some high-level tips to help get you through the holidays:
Remember the Gift of Recovery You’ve Given to Yourself
Regardless if you have years of sobriety under your belt or are new to recovery, remember the gift that is recovery itself. Treasure that gift and invest further in your recovery throughout this season by taking the time to practice self-care and participate in those activities that are integral to maintaining your recovery.
Whether that’s going to meetings or spending more time with people who are supportive of your recovery, making the time to do these things which have gotten you thus far is important. Don’t let hectic schedules or demands derail what is important to you and helps you stay sane in your sobriety. Put yourself and your recovery on the top of your gift-giving list. It’s the best gift there is.
Be Selective with Your Time
Invitations can abound during this time of year and carefully selecting which events you want to attend is important. The wonderful thing about recovery is it allows you to be in charge of your life again, drugs or alcohol are not running the show. This means you get to make decisions that you know are healthy for you. Who you choose to keep company with is part of this.
For many, family events can be stressful and can sometimes include drinking traditions. Be firm with your boundaries and of course, speak up if you feel uncomfortable. If you would feel more secure bringing a friend who is solid in their sobriety, do so. Those who love you and support your recovery will be respectful of your wishes to maintain your sobriety and whatever that means for attending events, engaging at events and choosing to leave when you wish.
Take Time for Yourself
As mentioned earlier, the holidays are a high-stress season. With all the running around from event to event, getting gifts ready and just doing life, the season can throw schedules and self-care for a loop. But taking time out for yourself is probably the most important thing you can do for your recovery.
Scheduling time for yourself, allows you to hit the reset button and move away from moving on autopilot. That sort of autopilot behaviour results in overwhelming stress that might make relapse look tempting. But remember, you chose recovery for a reason – you want to live. Whether you take time to meditate, go to the gym, or just read a great book, these moments are precious because they let you reconnect with yourself. Reflect on the joys recovery has brought you and do remember that the greatest gift you can give to yourself is staying strong in your recovery.
We wish you and your loved ones a very happy and healthy holiday season!