The road to recovery requires constant vigilance, and the holidays are a time when many people find that temptation lurks around every corner. From clueless distant relatives offering a drink at family gatherings to the strong urge to use drugs to combat holiday stress, it is normal to experience a sudden surge of cravings that will require you to double up on your resolve. As the holidays approach, use these strategies to make sobriety a priority.
The weeks leading up the holidays are disruptive to your schedule, and it is important to stick to your routine as much as possible. Even if you must travel, try to wake up and go to bed at the same times each day since fatigue makes it harder to stay focused on sobriety. Make sure you continue to exercise and eat right, and develop a plan for dealing with holiday stress such as reading a good book in the evenings.
Choose Events Wisely
You know which holiday parties tend to spiral out of control, such as the annual office party that goes well into the late night hours. While you may have once joined in on the revelry, it is important to take a pass if you know you will be tempted to abuse drugs or alcohol at an event. Make a list of reasons why you cannot attend, and practice saying them until you feel confident about turning down the invitation. If you cannot tell them about your sober commitment, then usually feigning an illness is all it takes to be excused from a seasonal event.
Create a New Tradition
Get excited about this year’s holidays by creating new traditions to replace the old ones that no longer fit your lifestyle. Go ice-skating with your friends instead of going to a party, or whip up some holiday cookies instead of your signature drinks. Usher in the New Year by hosting a movie marathon, or attend a sober event in your community. Finding new ways to enjoy the season will reinforce the reasons why you have chosen to embrace sobriety.
Build a Support Team
When temptation strikes, you will be glad to have made a list and checked it twice. Start by finding 10 people you can call anytime you need support, and identify one or two of those people who can help you stick to your routine by offering compassionate guidance as a mentor. When you know there are people that support your sober journey, you will never have to worry about being alone when you are struggling.
Volunteer in the Community
Helping others is always a great way to take the focus off of yourself. Whether you decide to serve meals to hungry members of your neighborhood or you help hand out gifts to children in need, your happiness will increase with every minute you spend serving others. Volunteering is also a wonderful way to get in touch with others who prefer to spend the holidays doing something good for the world.
As the holidays draw near, it is normal to be apprehensive about how well you will be able to fend off potential triggers. Yet, you have already made it this far, and you have the strength inside you to successfully head into the new year still on track with your recovery. By planning for potential pitfalls over the holidays, you will have the right types of support to prevent relapse.