The holidays can be a difficult time for people in recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction. There are countless temptations and slippery situations that can come up, not to mention the emotional charge of the season. It is important during this time to make sure you are putting yourself and your sobriety first.
Tis the Season for Temptations
For many, the holidays are a time for excess in all things. Holiday parties are jam packed into the month of December. Alcohol usually is a large part of these parties, whether they are for work, friends, or family. While you may have gotten sober, chances are, the majority of people you either work with or know personally still drink, increasing the odds that if you try to show up for every invitation, you will end up being exposed to more than you are comfortable with. Further, many people who may not know you are in recovery, or who you are less acquainted with, may think that alcohol is a great Christmas gift. Finally, while full of cheer and giving, the holidays can be a stressful time period. Family obligations can be overwhelming, particularly if you have some dysfunction in your family dynamic. Spending lots of time with family can often take an emotional toll. Packed-full social calendars can also be stressful- when you are booked nearly throughout the entire month, it can be easy to overlook necessary personal time. The financial burden of buying Christmas gifts can stretch budgets to their limit- creating additional stresses. Together, all of these things- emotional strain, financial stress, limited down time, an overwhelming calendar, and plentiful exposure/access to alcohol, can create a dangerous situation for someone trying to maintain their recovery, particularly early on.
Be Easy on Yourself
On this blog, we have plenty of articles providing helpful tips and advice for avoiding temptations and creating “safety nets” for when you are in a touchy situation. But the main thing to remember this holiday season that will do the most to protect your recovery, is to be kind to yourself, and considerate of your limitations. Your limitations are just that- yours. They may not be the same as your sponsor’s, or your friends’, so you have to be honest with yourself about what you need to maintain your own peace of mind, and limit your chances of a relapse. Remember, it is ok to say no. Leaving some time in your December schedule for yourself- time alone to meditate or just relax, and making sure you leave time for meetings and recovery, is vital for preserving your sanity. While it is important to show up for friends, family, and work obligations, you will not be fully present in those situations if you are neglecting your needs and the needs of your recovery. Further, some situations may just be too tempting- a work holiday party that will be a huge booze-fest might be worth sitting out if you will end up fighting the urge to take a drink the whole time. And that is OK! Everyone has to find their own balance, between showing up and honoring commitments, and not endangering themselves. Strapped for cash? Most people appreciate homemade gifts, such as ornaments, or “vouchers” for things such as babysitting, cleaning, or other ways to help. Blowing your rent or bill money on gifts will not help anyone, and will put undue stress on you. Above all, try to focus on the spirit of the holidays- kindness. Both kindness to yourself, and kindness to others, will ensure you make it to January in one- sober- piece.
Help is Available
If you or someone you know is struggling with drugs or alcohol, don’t wait until it’s too late- call the treatment professionals at Serenity Acres today for your free confidential assessment: 1-800-203-2024.