Tips For Staying Sober Through The Holidays
For many people, December is the best time of year. The holidays bring family together to celebrate, while the new year offers a fresh start. For recovering addicts, the reality is somewhat more complicated.
It should come as no surprise that many recovering addicts relapse over the holiday season. People who have struggled with addiction have a history of drinking or getting high during this period. Substance abuse is almost socially acceptable in December, and the association sticks.
But it goes beyond that association. There are other triggers that go hand-in-hand with the holiday season. Family comes together (although to a lesser degree this year), and every recovering addict has at least one relative who is judgmental about what they see as the individual’s choices.
Furthermore, while the end of the year may promise a fresh start, it is also a time at which people assess the year that is ending. Especially when comparing oneself to judgmental family, it can be easy to get disheartened.
So, to help you stay sober over the holiday period, try the following tips.
Celebrate with your support system
Most people who have never suffered from addiction take little care when partying over the holiday season. They see alcohol and recreational drugs as good fun, rather than something dangerous.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but it creates a fragile environment for a recovering addict. This is why you should try to celebrate with your support system instead. These are people who are sensitive to your circumstances, or who are themselves staying sober. They may be the people you befriend at meetings.
Not only will they help you stay away from friends who are drinking with abandon, but they will also help you build new holiday associations.
Reflect on your achievements
In comparison to some of your family members, your achievements might not look like much. However, when you look at it in perspective, you’ll remember you don’t want to be measured by their metrics of success.
On the contrary, you know just how difficult it has been to get and stay sober. Spend some time reflecting on the challenges you have faced and your successes. Even if there have been a few stumbles along the way, you have kept going. People looking in from the outside will never understand what it took to get to where you are.
Set goals for the new year
A new year can be daunting, and that triggers many recovering addicts. You can, however, manage the uncertainty by making goals that focus on what is important.
Set some milestones on your recovery journey, including the commitment to stay sober, improve relationships, and find meaning. Make a plan for how you will keep going if and when you miss some of these milestones.
No one ever progresses in a linear fashion. That is true for recovering addicts as well as for people who have never touched substances. It is the journey that matters, rather than some idealized destination that will always remain a mirage.