Ah, the holidays! Festivities, merriment, celebration, and, for many of us, especially recovering addicts, stress and memories of disaster and trauma. Many recovering addicts have some pretty difficult issues to work through when they begin to look at the history of their relationships with family. Holidays are supposed to be special times and this can put a lot of pressure on relationships that are already perhaps fraught. Statistics show that alcohol consumption soars on holidays, so if you are like most people, your prior holidays before you got sober involved unusually excessive substance abuse whilst surrounded by people engaging in the same. With that kind of history and that kind of pressure, staying clean and sober as your first holidays loom can seem like a quite a challenge. And you are probably not wrong about that. But you can stay clean and sober, one day at a time. A strategy will make it easier for you to surmount this challenge. So let’s discuss how to plan a sober holiday.
Muster The Troops
You know the holiday will present a challenge, so take steps to prepare. To help yourself stick with your recovery program and stay sober on the holiday, rally your allies. A good recovery program will guide you to recognize who is really going to be there for you when you need support for your efforts and recovery. You will also learn to make new connections that you can count on to support your efforts. Group therapy organizations can help connect you with a dedicated sponsor. But it is good to have more than just one person to talk to. Figure out who you think will be there for you. Reach out in advance, tell them your concerns, and ask if you can call on them for support you when you need it.
Do The Work
Making it through the holidays is tough enough without trying to do it blindfolded. You need to understand your own personal history clearly. You need to know what upsets you, and what stresses you out. This will take facing some painful truths and digging into details. A good recovery program will get you started on this process. They will also help you recognize that “the work” we do in recovery is an ongoing voyage of self-discovery. Do the work and the rewards will come. It gets easier. You just have to keep at it.
Focus On Others
Charles Dickens encouraged us to think of the holidays as a time to give to others, and that’s a great perspective. The story of the Christmas Carol speaks of a man who thought only of his money, not even himself. Money was Scrooge’s addiction. He overcame it by looking outward and thinking of others. It is a powerful and true message. When we turn our attention to helping others, our own problems and stresses fade into the background. Helping people in need makes it easier to cultivate gratitude for what you have, and gratitude is a powerful tool for staying on the road to recovery.
Practice Self Care
Thinking about others is good, but don’t forget to think about yourself. Get enough rest, eat well, get some exercise, and make sure you have some quiet time for reflection. Taking time out to meditate, do yoga, or just get some exercise can help relieve stress and keep you calm and strong to stay the course.
Stay Clear Of Trouble
When you do “the work” you will recognize the problem relationships in your life. You might have to avoid some friends or family members if the relationships are perilous enough. Perhaps you can just manage them, and keep contact brief. Letting your allies know where you think the peril lies can help. They can come and rescue you from conversations you need to get out of. Remember, you are in charge. You can always just leave on your own. But having a friend or family member who understands can make it less awkward.
Remember: You Don’t Have To Go
Ultimately, you are the boss of you. If there is an “obligation” that puts your recovery at risk, recognize that it is not an obligation. Your primary obligation is to yourself. Do what you need to do to stay sober on the holidays. If that means avoiding a gathering, avoid it. You will be doing the right thing. Perhaps in the future, you will be able to handle it. But don’t bite off more than you can chew. One day at a time!
Find New Ways To Celebrate
If you have to avoid social gatherings that used to be the focus of your holidays, that can be a very lonely feeling. Find new ways to celebrate. You are not alone. There are many other recovering addicts out there facing similar challenges. You can meet them in group therapy and plan new drug and alcohol-free rituals to celebrate together.
Get The Therapy You Need
Whether you are in ongoing therapy or not, you might need some around the holidays. Seasons Bali has an ongoing E-Therapy program for our clients. Recovering addicts who have been to Seasons can get in touch with people who really know their personal challenges in detail. If you choose Seasons, the same skilled, compassionate and experienced therapists who helped them start down the road of recovery in the first place will be there for you, wherever and whenever you need them.
Learn More About Our Addiction Recovery Program
Seasons Bali offers support for people struggling with addiction. You are here reading this, so it’s probably time for you or someone you care about to take some steps towards a much better life. It takes work but you can leave the unfulfilling cycle and the suffering behind.
If someone you care about has a problem with alcohol (or any other form of addiction) talk to someone who understands. We are here to help. Call one of our experts today at (toll-free Australia) 1800 288 348 +61 398045757 or email us at [email protected] and we will call you.