The holidays are meant for a time of peace and joy. Anyone who has struggled with addiction knows that Thanksgiving through New Year’s can be a challenging time to stay clean and/or sober. There many parties and celebrations filled with enticing holiday drinks and cheer and the holidays also tend to bring emotions of anxiety, sadness, regret, and stress. All these situations and emotions may cause you to want to drink or use your drug of choice, so it is important to be prepared. Here are 6 tips to help you enjoy and celebrate a holiday season while being sober:
Think about how far you have come in your recovery and the positive steps you have made to change your life. It doesn’t matter if you have been clean/sober for a week or a few years. You have desired a positive change, resolved to change your life and taken action to make the change. Be thankful for it and empowered by your actions. Thanksgiving is about being grateful for the things in your life. Prepare a list of why you chose the path to recovery, the positive people in your life, and the many things you are thankful for. This will help keep you in the right frame of mind.
PLAN YOUR DAYS
Think about what you need to do each day (so you stay organized and don’t get behind, causing stress) and also about what you WANT to do. Fill your days with little things that bring you enjoyment and start new holiday traditions. If you tend to get lonely, surround yourself with people that encourage your sobriety.
JUST SAY NO
Avoid parties or celebrations where you know the desire to drink or use is going to be too strong. Don’t put yourself in that situation. If you suffer from alcohol addiction or binge drinking and are attending a party where alcohol may be offered, keep a non-alcoholic drink that you enjoy in your hand at all times, so others aren’t inclined to offer you a drink. If you are offered a drink, just politely tell them thank you, but you are good. If temptation becomes too strong, have an exit plan already in your mind. Either drive yourself to the party or go with someone that is supportive of your recovery and is willing to leave if you are feeling uncomfortable.
REACH OUT FOR HELP
Support and encouragement are very helpful to get through times of temptation. Make sure you attend all counseling and support group meetings that you usually attend and it may be a good idea to go more often than normal…you can’t decide you are too busy during the holidays. If you are a person of faith, reach out in prayer. Prayer will bring comfort and strength. Also don’t be afraid to ask for help from supportive family and friends if you are feeling vulnerable. You will quickly learn who wants to give you support, love and encouragement. A word of encouragement can go a long way to help you appreciate your new life of sobriety.
Everyone struggles to keep exercising during the holidays because of time constraints. But especially for those in recovery, it is important to keep exercising. Moderate exercise such as a brisk walk, riding a bike, yoga, or doing calisthenics releases endorphins which gives positive feelings in your body and will give you an extra boost.
FIND WAYS TO HELP OTHERS
You will find that when helping others, you help yourself. Volunteer your services at a local charity, church, or community organization. Visit the elderly. Giving of your time to help others creates positive feelings and memories.
Spending the holidays sober will allow you to experience the true spirit of the holiday season. We wish you a safe and sober holiday season filled with peace and happiness. For those who are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, New Day Recovery is here for you. There is no better way to start 2018 than to be on the road to recovery. Contact us today.