The holiday season is typically one that incites excitement and joy in everyone. However, for recovering individuals, this can be a trying time; one that requires a heightened sense of self-awareness and added steps for relapse prevention. For those new to recovery, the idea of a sober christmas season may even be downright frightening.
Spending a holiday without the one coping mechanism that you’ve counted on your whole life isn’t easy to think about. So, as the holiday approaches, it’s normal to be immediately reminded of festive times spent with substances and/or feel the desire to call them in to assist with the holiday blues.
It’s also a setup for relapse.
That is why it’s important to be prepared going into the holidays with these 3 survival tips, especially if this year is your first sober holiday.
1. Stay connected.
Remember, there’s safety in numbers. Sober, recovering people sticking together will always be safer than isolation or being the only sober one in a crowd. Staying connected to your recovery community also allows you to be involved in any holiday events they’re planning and gives you access to any assistance they can provide, if you are struggling to stay sober.
2. Work the program.
Regardless of which addiction treatment program you’ve chosen for your own individual needs, it is vital that you continue to work that program throughout the entire holiday season. Breaks from school, work and everyday life do not warrant taking vacations from the work that is recovery.
3. Ask for help.
Don’t be ashamed or too prideful to ask for the help you need. Remember, your ego is likely standing in the way of you and your recovery. It only serves to hasten relapse. So push it aside and reach out to others in your recovery community, addiction specialists, a life/recovery coach, counselor and/or a spiritual guide to assist you.
A successful recovery is contingent upon you and you alone. There is no external force that can destroy your recovery. Holidays are no exception. And, when it comes to your first sober holiday, it’s necessary for you to do anything and everything it takes to survive it, relapse-free.