Last week, we wrote at length about people in addiction recovery making flexible and adjustable resolutions. We also included a brief section about observing major holidays as one might any other day of the year. It is critical to avoid giving specific days of the year more power than they deserve. Stress and emotional turmoil can accompany holidays, but such feelings should not be an excuse to use drugs and alcohol.
Christmas is drawing near, and New Year's Eve is close behind. It is vital to go over some techniques for keeping your recovery intact into 2019. Each person working a program of recovery has tools at their disposal for coping with trying situations. For many people, being around family can precipitate mental strain. Fortunately, individuals who practice the principles of recovery can make it through any holiday.
Conversely, some individuals whose families are not currently a part of their lives are prone to melancholy. Active addiction steals much from a person. The choices one makes in service to their disease can result in familial estrangement. Having the knowledge that you are not welcome at a holiday gathering can lead to mental fatigue. Such people are more apt to start feeling sorry for themselves and are at a heightened risk of experiencing problems.
Protecting Your Addiction Recovery During The Holidays
Each individual in addiction recovery has different life circumstances, and nothing is set in stone. Recovering addicts' lives change regularly. One must do their best to manage and cope with family-induced stress or loneliness. It's possible to avoid recovery pitfalls during Christmas and New Year's, and your support network can help. Those who stay close to their circle and are honest about their limitations can stay on track. Below you will find some helpful tips for preventing relapse this Christmas and New Year's Eve.
First, develop tactics for attending family gatherings. Also, have a plan for weathering the blues that can come from not being in the company of relatives. A strategy for either for each must include attending meetings of recovery. Groups are held around the clock during every significant holiday. Prioritize catching a meeting both before and after attending family events. Those who are not expected at the Christmas dinner can use the free time to be in the company of recovery peers. People in addiction recovery will often host sober holiday gatherings, too. It is imperative to ask around and find ways to fill your holiday schedule.
Second, the holiday season is notorious for overeating and lounging around the house. Prioritizing self-care is helpful. People in recovery can never lose sight of the importance of maintaining their spiritual and physical exercise routines. Addiction recovery is about balance, and prayer and meditation help keep one's equilibrium. Individuals who exercise daily can benefit from finding time for light exercise on Christmas. Not giving certain days of the year power means sticking to one's normal recovery routine as much as possible.
Positive Attitude Changes Everything
Each person is at a different point in addiction recovery. Meaning, some people may not yet be where they want to be. The gifts of uninterrupted sobriety, after all, come when the time is right—not a moment sooner. In the meantime, it is essential to maintain a positive attitude regardless of having family in your life or not.
Those not yet where they would like to be in life can take comfort in recognizing the progress made thus far. Each day clean and sober is a source of pride. People in their first year of sobriety should be able to easily remember how unfortunate life was just a short time ago. The coming holidays may not look the way one hopes, but it will seem significantly better than what would be without recovery.
Whatever one's schedule looks like on December 25th or 31st, family time or not, everything will be copacetic if you keep doing the next right thing for your addiction recovery throughout the day. Remind yourself of the importance of maintaining an open mind. Be accepting of those around you and minimize expectations. Most importantly, remember that a positive attitude changes everything.
Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” ―Washington Irving
The Gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We are hopeful that people in recovery will practice the principles and utilize their toolbox for a safe and sober holiday. Please contact us if you require assistance for alcohol or substance use disorder.