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There will be plenty of parties and lots of Christmas cheer, but the holidays can be incredibly difficult for those in early addiction recovery. The stress of traveling, shopping, finances, and expectations. The triggers are everywhere.
Don’t put yourself at risk. Start making a plan with your sponsor (and if you don’t have one, get one). Here’s five tips on how to stay sober during the holidays to continue your joyous and substance free life.
1. Make a Plan
Part of early recovery means narrowing down who, what or where could trigger relapse. Identify those factors that exist in your life – write them down if you have to. During the silly season, you’ll need to protect your sobriety – and the best way to do just that is with a solid plan. This means getting to a meeting every day and staying in regular contact with your sponsor.
2. Bring Your Own Car
You don’t want to have to rely on someone else for transportation. When you want (or need) to leave, you need to have the freedom of your own car. After all, you’re a safe ride for yourself being sober.
3. Help Others
Is there any greater feeling than giving back? The feeling of joy and thankfulness is contagious around the holidays. And if there’s one thing recovery has taught us, it’s that being with others can help us on our journey. Reach out to a local shelter or soup kitchen to see if they need some help around the holidays. Have a loved one or neighbor who can’t get around easily? Offer to help decorate for the holidays or watch a festive movie with them. You’ll be amazed at how much giving back can support your recovery. It’ll support your strength and courage.
4. Acknowledge the Risks
We all have those family members – the aunt who loves to interrogate you about rehab, the cousin who doesn’t understand what “no alcohol” means as she tries to hand you a glass of wine, the cool uncle who says "just drink less". You don’t have to be around these people. You don’t live like that anymore. The same can be said for events. If everyone gets drunk at the office party, only stop in for a short visit at the very beginning or don’t go at all. You need to put yourself and your sobriety first.
5. Make Time for Yourself
One of the best things you can do is take time for yourself, so you’re your healthiest self. Make time to relax, get extra sleep, cook healthy meals – whatever strengthens your mood and body. Don’t forget to feed your soul and spirit. The more time you spend on your well-being, the better equipped you’ll be to handle any obstacles that may pop up.
You Got this!
Whether you’re fresh out of a treatment or have a few years under your belt, it can feel like you’re walking on thin ice from Thanksgiving to New Years. Just remember what the holidays really mean: a chance to share, heal, and rebuild bonds with those closest to you. Stay focused on the positive, be honest with yourself and your loved ones.
About the Author
Matthew Koenig is the principal of Last Call Marketing, which devotes their efforts to Digital Marketing, Content Marketing and SEO, primarily in healthcare and tourism concerns. Mr. Koenig is based out of South Florida. His sober date is June 10, 2013.