The weather outside is frightful, but at the back of your mind, you are far more concerned about how you will survive the holidays without a drink. Whether it is your first holiday season sober, or even if you have time under your belt, it is an important time of the year to focus on recovery. You have worked so hard to make holistic life changes, and you have come so far, having a drink at the company party is not worth the setback.
Regardless of individual religious beliefs or traditions, or a lack thereof, the holidays are inundated with festivities, many of which involve alcohol and/or other drugs. It’s not so much that there is a temptation to drink, as there is an expectation. Then there are all of the stressors, including shopping, traffic, and end of the year commitments for work. As if that weren’t enough, there are typically family gatherings, which too often include family drama. Staying sober isn’t only difficult for people in recovery. It’s amazing that anyone stays sober in this stressful, emotional, and extreme sensory overloaded environment. But they do. And you can, too. The good news is that you can write your own holiday script. With increased awareness and conscious decisions made ahead of time, you can have a very sober and very wonderful holiday.
While people are making gift lists and planning meals and events, those in recovery can do another kind of planning: a plan to stay sober. This plan should include how to handle invitations to events where it is known that there will be substances involved. Most holiday parties can be politely declined, and for those that are required, perhaps a short appearance is wise. Many times executives and management are required to be at work parties. When this is the case, perhaps attending early and leaving early is an option. Or perhaps others who are sober can be recruited as a support network for the event.
When choosing where and when to go, it is important to remember that even family will appreciate a person in successful recovery more than they will need that person to risk everything to come home for the holidays. Also, a family that supports recovery is the kind of family that one might want to spend time with. Remember to practice how to say no if offered a substance in any situation. Being prepared is much better than being caught off guard.
Gifts to Yourself
One of the most important things to remember during this stressful time is self-care. While it is easy to forget the daily routines established in recovery, things such as remembering vitamins or prescribed medications, getting restful sleep, meditating, exercising and other self-care habits are the first line of defense against relapse. Self-care is how health and well-being become a priority and show yourself and others in your life that you matter. Consistency in self-care is the gift that keeps on giving, and continued sobriety is only one of the blessings.
Food is perhaps the only thing that is consumed in greater quantities than alcohol during the holidays. Much of the food is high in sugars and fats compared to the food offered in family gatherings for the rest of the year. While it is fun to indulge in treats or foods that are only available around the holidays to a certain extent, it is also important to remember that a healthy body is part of successful recovery. The conscious choice to eat healthy foods throughout the holidays and not overindulge in the seasonal delicacies supports the conscious choices of staying sober as well.
Give of Yourself
Although it is a busy time of the year, it is also a great time to think about others. Giving time, money, and/or goods to others supports emotional well-being. While many individuals and groups increase acts of service at this time of the year, it can be fulfilling to volunteer with at-risk kids or offer charitable acts to others who may be impacted by addiction or struggling with recovery. This allows you to share your wisdom to help others and also creates a kinship that supports your new ideals.
Get Out of Town
Travel can be more stressful for some people. But others may find it helpful to change locations and get away from people and places that trigger them to abuse substances. Finding a destination that is new or unknown can help support being sober at this time of the year because there is no history with substances there. Others may enjoy traveling to visit with loving extended family and surrounding themselves with likeminded people who encourage and support them. Whatever works best for you, don’t be afraid to get out of town if that will help you to stay strong.
It is important to prepare for the many pitfalls of this time of the year that could impact your recovery. The festivities of the holidays should bring you warmth and happiness, even if it can be a very stressful time of the year. AToN Center can help you kick off the season with health and wellness. Their experienced team of professionals can help bring new meaning to your holidays and to your life. Despite the social pressures to indulge, you can create a very happy and very sober holiday season and have an empowered new year.
Give yourself the greatest gift possible this year by calling AToN Center at (888) 813-5928 today.