The Season is upon us to eat, drink and be merry, but what if you’re a person who struggles with addiction?
Overcoming holiday stress and dealing with temptation isn’t easy, but it’s possible to survive the holiday season without derailing your recovery. For some people the holidays bring feelings of loneliness and isolation, the temptation to drink or use again can be especially strong.
Being aware of your personal triggers and developing effective coping strategies for the holidays can help the season go smoothly. With a solid game plan in place, you can enjoy a memorable holiday with family and friends while keeping your recovery efforts strong.
Tips for Getting Through the Season
• Make Your Recovery Your #1 Priority
Step up your meeting attendance. Talk to other people in recovery daily. Keep a journal. Exercise. Help another alcoholic/addict. Keep all your doctor/therapy appointments. Take your medication. Pray. Whatever your recovery path, make sure you do what you need to do to maintain your recovery.
Many AA and NA chapters hold special recovery events and meetings Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Eve, New Years Day around the clock.
• Have a Plan
Develop a plan to protect your recovery ahead of any holiday event
Go into every situation prepared. Plan your day around a meeting or support group, if you are traveling, find a meeting/group in that area. If you are planning on get togethers with family and friends, make sure you know when gatherings begin and end, who will be there and what to expect. Know ahead of time what you will do if someone offers you a drink/drug, becomes drunk themselves or you start feeling uncomfortable/triggered.
• Have Someone Available to Call
You are not alone. Keep in contact with your sponsor, recovery coach, support group members or even your therapist throughout the day. Make sure to let someone you trust know that you may be in a triggering situation and you want to use them for accountability. Ask if they would be available for you to call in case you need someone to talk to.
• Set a Time Limit
If you know you are going to an event where there will be lots of drinking and you are unable to decline the invite – set a time limit on how long you will stay.
• Be Selfish
Both addiction and recovery are selfish. In active addiction, your life revolved around whatever substance you were addicted to. Recovery needs to be the same way, at the core you need to make decisions that are the best for you and your life.
• Do a Good Deed Everyday
Look for ways to be of service to others. This builds self-esteem and gets you into the spirit of the season.
• Start a New Tradition
Be host to your friends in recovery, especially newcomers. If you don’t have a place to go, meet at a coffee shop or restaurant.
“Let your hopes, not your hurts shape your future.”
Wishing you peace, love and joy this holiday season and throughout 2020.
As always remember that The Charlestown Coalition is here to support you.
Program Manager of Addiction and Recovery Services