For many people, the holidays are an exciting time, filled with family get-togethers and socialization. However, for many others, just thinking about ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ can cause a great deal of stress and worry. Especially if you are in recovery, the intensity of the season, combined with greater access to alcohol and family-focused activities can threaten to derail all of your hard work. That is why we are here, to offer a few tips on how to navigate the holidays during recovery.
Know Your Triggers During the Holidays
One of the keys to avoiding relapse during the holidays is to get clear on what it is that triggers your addictive behavior. Is it a certain friend or family member? Is it being in a specific location? Identify what it is that causes you stress, or has led to destructive behavior before. If possible, plan to avoid the most challenging situations. However, if steering clear from a certain person or declining an invitation is not possible, take a look at our next recommendation.
There are many ways that you can prepare for potentially difficult interactions or situations. For example, you might practice speaking about your recovery, in anticipation of the fact that friends or family may ask. Instead of expecting the host to have something you can drink, consider bringing your own favorite sparkling water to enjoy. And don’t be afraid to have a snack before you arrive, to prevent your blood sugar from dropping and irritability from rising.
Use Your Support
In some cases, it may be useful to bring a friend with you who is also not planning on drinking or using drugs. This will help keep you accountable and give you someone to socialize with if the party takes a turn. You may also find your therapy sessions and support groups to be especially helpful during this time. Leaning upon those who have your best interest at heart will help make the holiday season more enjoyable. Remember, there are always people ready to support you, so you should try not to be alone during this time.
Let Us Help You Navigate the Holidays
We understand that the holiday season may cause an increase in stress and feelings of anxiety. However, just because you are in recovery does not mean you cannot enjoy this time with the people who love you. At Free by the Sea, we have helped our clients in the Pacific Northwest get through the challenging social environments and stay sober during the holiday season, and beyond, with confidence. Do you have questions about the recovery process? If so, do not hesitate to contact us today.
Dr. Richard Crabbe joined our team in 2019 as our psychiatrist and medical director. He attended the University of Ghana Medical School where he became a Medical Doctor in 1977. From 1978 through 1984, he was a medical officer in the Ghana Navy and provided a variety of services from general medicine to surgeries. He received his Certificate in General Psychology from the American Board of Psychology and Neurology in 2002.