One of the joyous aspects about recovery is that you get to redesign your life in a way that beings you the most peace and happiness. The holiday season can throw a lot of wrenches into the works and we want you to be as prepared as possible!
Remember why you decided you wanted to make this change – and focus how you can make your holidays even better now with this new life of yours. Here are some tips to help you through:
- Remember that you are creating new traditions! Scour the internet for local sober events and get some supportive friends and family to go with you. Make enjoyable sober plans and focus on what you can do. You may be surprised at how much fun you will have!
- Limit stress as much as possible! This includes not only maintaining a healthy routine, but also taking care of yourself by saying “no” to stressful friends and family.
- You don’t have to attend every event that you are invited to. Be careful in deciding which events you will attend – often the barrage of invitations is stressful enough. Be choosy and go to the events that you will be sorry you missed out on! It’s also important to have the means to get home and an exit plan if you find yourself in a sticky situation.
- If you are attending an event where there will be drinking, you may consider having a sober buddy come along with you. It also helps to have a non-alcoholic drink in your hand already so people don’t continuously offer you a drink. Have nonjudgmental, but firm “refusal statements” ready to go as to why you are not drinking (if someone is pushing it). It may also help to “bookend” events, meaning you can go to a meeting before and after an event if you feel you need the extra support.
- Speaking of drinks – find a new favorite nonalcoholic drink – there are so many to choose from! Feel free to bring your own beverage to events.
- Get into the habit of checking in with yourself about your relapse warning signs on a daily basis. We all know that there is a point of no return, the goal is to catch yourself before you get there. Don’t feel like you are “failing” or “weak” if you are having relapse warning signs. Be honest with yourself and use them as feedback to help you make healthy changes and get back on the right track.
- If you are traveling, know what meetings are available in the area beforehand and make plans to attend, regardless of whether you feel you need it or not. The extra support when you are out of your comfort zone can make all the difference!
- Finally, think about how you will feel when you’ve navigated such a hazardous time of year!
Happy Holidays from all of us at AToN Center!
Cassandra Cannon, Ph.D.
AToN Center 888-535-1516