Tag Archives: holiday

Recovery Safeguards: Safely Celebrating Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving 2020 is on the near horizon with just a couple of days to go. Typically, this coming Thursday would see all of us gathering together with friends in recovery or family members—giving thanks. This year is like no other year in living memory; all of us must consider health and safety.

The COVID-19 third wave is staggering, with over 150,000 new cases daily. Nearly 258,000 Americans have died from the coronavirus in the United States thus far, a number that is sure to grow with each passing day. It’s essential that you do everything you can to reduce your risk of contraction.

Public health agencies warn that Thanksgiving has the potential to be a “super spreader” event. Millions of Americans have already ignored the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) warning about traveling over the holiday. The CDC states:

Travel can increase the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.

Local, state, and federal agencies caution against both traveling and congregating in large groups during Thanksgiving. Even gathering outdoors carries inherent risks, and those living in colder climes will have difficulty hosting outdoor celebrations. What’s more, the CDC cautions:

Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.”

Safely Celebrating Thanksgiving

Between November 10th and the 23rd, there were 2,300,507 new cases of COVID-19 reported in the U.S. alone. We can all have a hand in slowing the spread this week by adhering to CDC guidelines. The public health agency recommends:

  • Having a virtual dinner with friends and family. Schedule a time to share a meal together virtually.
  • Having a small dinner with only people who live in your household.
  • Watching sports events, parades, and movies from home.
  • Shopping online rather than in person on the day after Thanksgiving or the next Monday

The day after Thanksgiving or “Black Friday” is when millions of people seek out holiday sales. Some people will wait in line for hours to get a video game console such as a PlayStation or Xbox. Naturally, being around large crowds this Friday could put your health at risk. Utilizing the internet is in everyone’s best interest.

Please consider doing as much as you can virtually this Thanksgiving, including attending 12 Step meetings. Every year, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings are held around the clock during major holidays. This year, you can benefit from utilizing video conferencing platforms to attend meetings.

Coping With Isolation in Recovery

Many people in recovery live alone, which means that this Thanksgiving could be extremely challenging. Since it may not be safe to get together with one’s support network, such individuals will have to stay connected virtually.

Isolation is unhealthy for recovery any day of the week, but it’s incredibly hard during the year’s emotional days like holidays. Please start planning now for how you will manage the upcoming holiday. Just because you may be unable to congregate with friends and family does not mean that you will be utterly alone.

You can navigate Thanksgiving in isolation by attending meetings online. A member of your support network may be hosting a virtual dinner that you can attend—ask around. Throughout the day, please be sure to call other members of the recovery community, especially newcomers. You can help others and yourself stay clean and sober by reaching out.

The more you stay connected, the better; always remember that the fellowship is only a phone call or video conference away. Utilize your recovery tools for managing your feelings. If you find yourself feeling down, then grab a piece of paper and write out all the things you’re thankful for in recovery.

Seeking Help During the Holiday Season

If you are struggling with an alcohol or substance use disorder, there is help available. At PACE Recovery Center, we help men begin the journey of recovery. We can help you break the cycle of addiction and lead a productive and positive life in recovery. Please contact us today to learn about our gender-specific behavioral and mental health programs and services.

Recovery During Independence Day: Having a Plan

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The Fourth of July is less than 24 hours away, which means that people in addiction recovery are making plans. It’s vital to have a schedule during major holidays, especially the ones synonymous with heavy alcohol consumption. Leaving things up to chance is never a sound practice in sobriety.

Like any holiday, it’s imperative to fill up the day with recovery-centered activities. The goal is to prevent finding oneself in any situation that could compromise progress. Accruing any length of clean and sober time is an enormous undertaking that requires steadfast dedication and vigilance. Nobody wants to jeopardize their hard work, which is why showing deference to the dangers of holidays is paramount.

Men and women who are in the first year of sobriety are often tempted to test the strength of their program. Some are convinced that they can attend holiday functions, barbeques, and parties just like everyone else. While it is possible to go to an Independence Day party without picking up a drink, in most early recovery cases, it’s not worth the risk.

The Fourth is not Christmas; there aren’t the same familial expectations to attend functions. With that in mind, people in recovery are free to forge a safe path from one side of the holiday to the other. Structuring one’s day similar to any other day is beneficial: prayer or meditation, attending home groups, being of service and engaging with one’s peers. Those who put their program first make it last!

Occupying Your Time on the Fourth

Since most businesses are closed on the Fourth of July, many people don’t have to work. It is not uncommon to attend several recovery meetings during holidays, it’s even advised in fact. Meetings are held around the clock to ensure everyone in sobriety has a safe harbor to wait out the turbulent seas that holidays bring. Moreover, recovery communities organize Independence Day events that are a fun time.

When given the option to attend an event that involves alcohol use or one whose guests are in recovery, deciding which is healthier is not challenging. People in early recovery might think that it’s boring to attend a program-related holiday gathering, but please do not knock it until you try it.

Those committed to abstaining from drugs and alcohol are not sticks in the mud, and they know how to have a good time. Another benefit of attending an event hosted by people in the program is that one has the opportunity to bond with their peers outside the rooms. Meeting new men and women out in the world could lead to lasting friendships.

If you haven’t taken the opportunity to make a plan for the holiday, please take action. Another holiday pitfall is isolation; spending too much time alone can be detrimental. Reach out to some of your peers today to find out what they are planning for tomorrow. They may know of something exciting happening that you will want to attend.

Independence from Addiction, Finding Recovery

Tomorrow, we acknowledge our nation’s rich history. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress declared independence. The Gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center hope that everyone working a program has a safe and sober Independence Day.

We also understand that millions of American men are in the grips of the disease of addiction and would like to find freedom. We can help adult males break the cycle and transform their lives through working a program of recovery. Please contact us today to take the first steps toward living independently from drugs and alcohol.

Young men who are struggling with non-substance-related mental illness, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, are encouraged to reach out to us as well.

The PACE Mental Health Program can treat and help you navigate mood disorders and life obstacles arising during college and young adulthood. Click the link to learn more about our Huntington Beach Mental Health Program.

Addiction Recovery After Relapse

relapse

July 4th has come and gone, once again. For many of you working a program of addiction recovery, it is probably a relief. Especially for those of you who kept your recovery intact over the long holiday weekend. On the other hand, there are a number of recovery community members who relapsed at some point between Friday and yesterday. It happens every year. In many ways, our Independence Day is inextricably linked to pervasive heavy alcohol consumption. The temptation is especially great around this time of year.

If you relapsed this weekend, you are probably laden with feelings of guilt and shame. It is, in many ways, a natural response to picking up a drink or drug after acquiring some sober and clean time. Anyone who acquires some length of time in the program knows that it resulted from hard work and dedication. After a relapse, it can be easy to feel like it was all for naught. However, that is not necessarily the case, assuming one doesn’t go from a relapse to full-blown active addiction.

You are right to feel upset after relapsing. That is, to feel like you let yourself and others down due to a decision that was hardly worth it. Any one of our readers whose recovery story includes a relapse, knows that taking that first drink or drug is never accompanied by relief. It is hard to enjoy a belly full of beer with a head full of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). They will also agree that while it was humbling to have to identify as a newcomer again, it was worth it. The alternative to getting back up onto the recovery horse after a fall is never beneficial. But, and sadly, a large percentage of people who relapse, continue down the perilous path driven by shame and guilt.

Committing Yourself to Addiction Recovery, Again

It may seem like your relapse came out of nowhere. Just an unexpected event that jeopardized your program. Please keep in mind, nobody working a program just accidentally trips and falls into a pool of alcohol. A relapse usually begins long before taking that first drink or drug. Happening gradually and incrementally. Taking the form of isolating behavior, not calling your sponsor as much or going to fewer meetings. Then, often when it is least expected, one finds themselves in a position of vulnerability.

One begins to think that they have their disease under control; that their addiction recovery is strong, even while going to events typified by alcohol use, or hanging out with people who are using. For a time, resistance may be possible, but more times than not a relapse is fast approaching. One only need a holiday, which is already fairly stressful, to be pushed over the edge.

While the road to relapse may zig and zig in different ways, from one person to the next, the road back to recovery should be fairly consistent in nature. If you relapsed and have not called your sponsor, please do so immediately. And do so knowing that your sponsor will not judge or look down on you. Addiction recovery is rooted in compassion, not shaming or guilting people about a decision that comes naturally. Make no mistake, drinking and drugging is the alcoholic and addict’s natural state. News of relapse, while unfortunate, is not cause for making a person smaller than they already feel.

So call your sponsor and get to a meeting. Identify as a newcomer and grab a chip. Doing so will let your “homegroup” know that you are recommitting yourself to the program. You may be inclined to think that your peers will look at your differently. Conversely, what is likelier is that they will reach out to offer their support and commend you for taking the courageous step of re-identifying as a newcomer.

Listen to what they have to say, following direction in early recovery is crucial for not repeating the same errors again. Be open and honest with your sponsor about what is going on with you, so you two can determine what kind of adjustments should be made to avoid another relapse. Remember, you are not the first person working a program of addiction recovery to relapse. What’s more, it is not uncommon for people to go on from relapse to acquire significant time in the program—decades even. There isn’t any reason why your return to the program from a relapse can’t have a fruitful outcome.

Addiction Treatment Might Be Needed

In some cases, a weekend relapse may morph into continued use for weeks and even months. Just going back into the recovery rooms in such cases may not be enough. Detox and residential treatment might be needed to ensure positive results. If you are a young adult male who feels like you need extra support, please contact PACE Recovery Center. We can help you address what led to your relapse and to better ensure that it does not happen again.

Staying Connected With Your Recovery

recoveryIf you are an active member of an addiction recovery program, then you are probably acutely aware of the fact that your addiction is just waiting for you to slip up and welcome drugs and alcohol back into your life. Addiction is a treatable condition. Through continued spiritual maintenance and active participation in one of many recovery support programs—we can, and do recover. But we can never delude ourselves in thinking that addiction can be cured, or that one day you will wake up and declare, “I’m an ex-alcoholic or ex-addict.”

Just like the diabetic who takes insulin every day, their condition is not cured but rather contained. Every day people working a program of addiction recovery need to take certain steps to ensure, or rather, mitigate the chance of a relapse. Without active participation in your own recovery, long-sobriety is unlikely.

Addiction does not take a day off from trying to find its way back into the forefront of one’s life, so then, it stands to reason that your recovery does not accumulate vacation time. To think otherwise, as many have, is nothing short of dangerous. As we approach the holiday season, it is vital that you keep this in mind, otherwise you may slip back into old behaviors and potentially relapse.

Staying Sober This Thanksgiving

Addiction recovery is difficult under normal day-to-day circumstances. Having a bad day, or letting yourself become stressed, angry or tired can hamper one’s program; if such feelings are not quickly addressed, bad decisions can follow. While holidays are supposed to be about joining friends and family in celebration, for people in recovery, such days can quickly become too much to handle.

With Thanksgiving just over 24 hours away, it is important that you recognize how strong you are in your recovery—particularly regarding your ability to be around family. Let’s face it, holidays can be tumultuous even for people who do not have a substance use disorder. But unlike the average person, uncomfortable and stressful environments can take a toll on one’s recovery—leading to rash decisions that can result in picking up a drink or a drug.

If you know that you will be attending a family gathering this Thursday, be sure to discuss it with your sponsor and the other members of your support network. There is a good chance that this can aid in guiding you through the holiday by helping you spot situations that may be risky, such as associating with relatives who you used to get drunk or high with during holidays past. What’s more, there is a good chance that they will tell you to always have your phone handy so that you can reach out before a particular matter gets out of hand. If you follow the suggestions of the people in the program who have more sober holidays under their belt, then there is no reason for you to have to open your eyes Friday morning with regret on your mind.

Staying Connected With Recovery

Many people working a program of recovery have yet to fully clean up the wreckage of their past. Meaning, presently their family may not be a part of their life. It is a reality that can be hard to deal with during the holidays. At PACE Recovery Center, we implore you to not be discouraged about the people that you do not have in your life, and take stock in those who are an active part of your life.

If you have no familial obligations this Thursday, use it as an opportunity to be there for your fellow recovering alcoholics or addicts. During the course of Thanksgiving, there will be meetings occurring around the clock and you would do yourself a service by attending some of them. You may have something to share at a meeting that can help another who is new to recovery: A person who might be contemplating giving up on recovery before they have a chance to experience some of the miracles. Recovery is only possible if we help each other stay the course.

We would like to wish everyone in recovery a drug and alcohol free Thanksgiving. Every obstacle you overcome, only serves to strengthen your program. Please remember:

  • Avoid getting hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT).
  • Stay connected to your support network as much as possible.
  • Stay clear of risky people, places and things.
  • Keep your phone charged, turned on and easily accessible.
  • Don’t drink or drug, no matter what.

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