The holidays can be challenging for anyone. They are full of activity and expectation, which puts a lot of demands on your schedule and your emotions, putting more people under a lot of stress. If you have issues with your family or friends, these are usually pushed to the forefront during the holidays, making things harder on everyone.
As an addict, all of these issues are compounded during the holidays. While the person who is not an addict might cope by overeating or sleeping too much on the weekend, you may feel tempted to use drugs or alcohol to cope. The approaching holidays can feel like a minefield – and you may feel like you aren’t sure you’ll get through the other side without things exploding.
With a little planning and support, you can get through the holidays without jeopardizing your recovery and finding yourself back in an addiction clinic around Arizona. Here are five things you can do to stay sober this holiday season:
Most people are going to attend a lot of parties during the holidays, and they are going to indulge in a few drinks (or more). This is considered “normal.” So if you turn down an invitation because you expect a lot of alcohol to be there or because you expect to feel stressed by the people there, people are going to ask you why, and that is going to make you feel more pressure. Likewise, if you are at a party and turn down a drink, a lot of people are going to ask you why or outright pressure you to indulge.
Create a plan for how you will respond to these things so that you can keep the situation from elevating and feel in charge of your emotions. Have a simple, “Sorry I can’t make it, but I have something else I have to do that night!” ready, or be prepared to say, “No, thanks! I’ll just have a soda.” Be ready to walk away quickly after you give your answer so that others don’t feel free to ask questions or to pressure you.
One thing you learn to do to stay sober is to avoid triggers. That means avoiding people and places where you know you are likely to encounter a lot of drugs and alcohol – or situations that would have made you want to indulge in drugs or alcohol. Holiday parties are likely to feature a lot of your previous friends, as well as drugs or alcohol.
Think carefully about where you are likely to encounter temptation, and choose which gatherings you will attend accordingly. Don’t put yourself in the way of temptation. If you go to a party where you weren’t expecting temptation but you find it anyway, be prepared to leave quickly.
You are going to need a lot of support if you are going to stay sober and continue on your journey of recovery. You will especially need that support during the holidays, when emotions are heightened and everyone is under more stress.
Spend your time around the people you have identified as the most supportive as much as possible during the holidays. Not only will you face less temptation to use, but you will be refilling your bucket, so to speak, with their good energy so that if you do face a challenging situation later, you won’t be as likely to feel drained and ready to give in to the temptation to use.
You have to fill your own bucket also. If you are feeling depleted because you haven’t gotten enough sleep, your blood sugar is haywire because you haven’t been eating properly, and your stress levels are through the roof because you haven’t been exercising or getting enough down time, you are far more likely to give in to the desire to use.
Practice self-care as much as you can throughout the holiday season. Put your focus on getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and doing things to relieve stress, such as meditating or enjoying hobbies.
You have set goals for yourself to stay healthy and to stop using drugs or alcohol. You have been sober for at least some time now, and you know how good that feels. If you feel tempted during the holidays, put your focus back on that feeling. Remember how good it feels to be sober, and remember your goals to stay healthy and to build a new life for yourself. Sometimes, all it takes is this reminder to yourself to stay sober.
The holidays can be challenging for us all, but they can be especially challenging to those who are trying to maintain their sobriety. Use these strategies to keep to your goals, and reach out to an addiction counselor if you need the additional support.
Corebella Health and Wellness Clinic offers addiction treatment in Glendale and Tempe – for those who are just starting on their recovery journey and for those who need ongoing addiction counseling to stay sober. We are also a wellness clinic offering alternative therapies like massage and acupuncture to help people better manage stress and to create a healthier and more resilient lifestyle to complement and support their sobriety. Contact us today to learn more about our services.
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