Coping with the Holidays While in Recovery

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The holidays are stressful for almost everyone, but it can be especially so for those in addiction recovery. Besides for the fact that there seem to be parties every day on every corner, there are also all of the emotions like nostalgia, loneliness, depression and anxiety that can rum rampant during the holiday season. Fortunately there are simple ways to cope with the holidays to stay positive and peaceful and protect your sobriety.

  • Be sure to get enough sleep.

    Let’s be honest – when you’re tired, you’re more likely to react instead of act. Bad judgments, saying things you don’t mean, negative impacts on overall health and thinking about drinking or using drugs are common when the body doesn’t get enough rest. While getting enough sleep doesn’t mean you won’t ever do those things, it does mean you are less likely to do or say something you’ll regret. Just remember H.A.L.T.: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. You want to avoid becoming any of those four. Experiencing hunger, anger, loneliness or exhaustion greatly increases your chances of just giving in. Simply put, it’s much harder to fight off temptations and stay positive when you have no physical, mental or emotional resources left. Don’t let yourself burn the candle at both ends or go more like 4 – 5 hours without eating.

  • Be very selective about the invitations you accept to holiday parties and events.

    From Thanksgiving to New Years is one of the most concentrated time periods of partying. It can also be one of the most difficult for those in addiction treatment because of the added financial and emotional stress. There just isn’t any sense in putting your sobriety at risk by attending events where there is going to be heavy drinking or drug use. Depending on how strong you feel in your addiction recovery, you may want to avoid attending parties where there will even be any alcohol, let alone drugs. It is always safer to attend events put on by 12-Step Fellowships or your friends that are also sober. If there are events or parties that you can’t miss, then the next tip will be especially helpful.

  • If you have to attend an event where there will be alcohol, remember: what’s actually in your glass only matters to you.

    When everyone around is already drinking beer or cocktails, it doesn’t matter what the bartender is actually pouring into your glass. Ask for tonic water or sparkling water with lime, and chances are no one will question you about why you’re not drinking, because it will appear that you are. This can help you to avoid uncomfortable conversations or prying questions about why you’re not drinking, and if someone offers to buy you a drink you can show them that you already have one or insist that you can order your own. If you are at a smaller gathering and there will be a toast, it will be helpful to let the host know beforehand so they can have a glass of something non-alcoholic for you. Again, this will help you to avoid uncomfortable questions if that’s something you don’t want to deal with! With this simple tip, it can be easier to join in the festivities while staying true to your addiction recovery!

The holidays are here, with New Years fast approaching. To speak confidentially with one of our recovery advisors about getting help with substance abuse treatment for you or a loved one, please call (855) 658-0035 or contact us so we can set up a personalized addiction treatment plan that focuses directly on your drug of choice and the most effective methods of addiction recovery and healing!