The holiday season can be filled with happiness and excitement. It can also be filled with stress. For someone in addiction recovery, the holidays can be especially challenging, full of physical and emotional triggers that may lead to relapse.
Enjoying the Holidays
We offer several strategies to help those in recovery from a substance use disorder maintain their peace of mind and safeguard their sobriety while enjoying the holidays.
Begin Each Day with Renewed Commitment
Whether you are new to recovery or have years of sobriety under your belt, have a plan for staying sober each day. This steadfast focus takes commitment, honesty, and determination. You know the types of places, people, and situations you need to avoid to protect your well-being. Renew your commitment to self-care every day.
Be Aware of Your Relapse Triggers
When you know what triggers you, you know how to protect yourself. Remember the acronym HALT, and try to avoid letting yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Draw on the tools you learned in treatment to manage stress and to care for your emotional and physical health.
Accept That You Will Experience Negative Feelings and Thoughts
By accepting that unpleasant feelings and thoughts will be part of your holiday experience, you can focus on your plan for how you will address them. Several examples of healthy coping mechanisms include relaxation exercises, meditation, and deep breathing. If you find yourself becoming frustrated or stressed, allow yourself to take a timeout.
Share Your Feelings
Sometimes the holiday season brings back confusing and painful memories, leading to depression, loneliness, disappointment, and anxiety. Accept these feelings, and talk about them with someone you trust. It could be your 12-Step sponsor, a therapist, or a trusted sober friend. By sharing how you are feeling, you can work through your emotions in healthy and constructive ways while keeping them in perspective.
When you catch yourself getting caught up in thoughts about the past or the future, return to the present moment. Slow down and focus. This will help keep your thoughts from spiraling out of control into what-ifs, projections, and worst-case scenarios.
It does not matter how long you have been in recovery; relapse can happen to anyone. Make sure you are taking good care of yourself. Take time to meditate, spend time in nature, and attend meetings. Making your recovery your top priority will help you to get through the holiday season.
If You Need Help
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, get help now. Putting off your recovery because of the holiday season is just another excuse. Give yourself and your family the best gift of all: your sobriety. At Canyon Vista Recovery Center, located in Mesa, Arizona, a professional, caring staff will guide you along the road to recovery using a combination of medical, clinical, psychiatric, and holistic approaches. Call and speak to one of our admissions counselors today.