Handling the Holidays During Recovery

The holiday season can be a difficult one when in recovery. It is a time of celebrating, which many times can include alcohol. For some, it also be a depressing time and reminder of pain. These feelings, both positive and negative can oftentimes lead to relapse.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and the holidays will be here before you know it. Planning and preparing ahead of time can help you navigate through. Here are a few tips you should keep in mind.

  • Plan your days.
  • If there are certain triggers that may test your ability to remain sober, avoid these. For example, if your company holiday party has an open bar or spending time with a certain relative always leads to drug use, then avoid these situations.

  • Have a plan B. If you want to attend certain events, having a plan for escape is a good idea. Talk to your spouse or friend and let them know that if you are feeling uncomfortable during the event that you may need to leave. Have a place you can go already planned out as an alternative such as a coffee shop or movie. You don’t need to go through recovery alone. Ask for help. 
  • Be prepared. If you are going to a holiday party or dinner and know there will be alcohol served, in addition to having a “plan b,” come prepared with alternatives for you to enjoy. Bring your favorite soda or sparkling water. Or bring the supplies to make a non-alcoholic punch or mocktail. Others will love the option for something alcohol-free as well!
  • Take care of yourself.
  • During the hectic holiday season, you may put your own self needs last. Make sure to take time for self care. Eating healthy, nutritious meals and staying active can help you feel well physically. Physical health connects to emotional health as well. Meditate and relax daily. 

  • Embrace the season. The holiday season is a time of giving and gratitude. Helping others is a great idea. Serve food at a homeless shelter, donate or help wrap gifts, spend time with family or friends. 
  • Talk through your emotions. If you have certain emotions and expectations surrounding the holidays it can be very helpful to share these feelings with a friend, professional counselor, sponsor, or another individual you trust. 

We hope these tips are helpful for you during the holidays. The best gift you can give yourself and those you love this holiday season is the gift of sobriety and recovery.

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