Everybody loves holidays, and it is that time of the year when everyone rejuvenates themselves and loosens up a bit. The holiday season is a time to connect with family and friends, gift-giving, and champagne toasting. During this season, several of us come together to eat, drink and enjoy. However, in reality, these holiday triggers are too much for someone coming out of rehabilitation or still recovering from alcohol or drug abuse.
According to the South Suburban Council, the most common triggers of addiction relapse are boredom, fear, expectations, and resentment.
08 Different Ways to Stay Sober During the Holidays
Amidst all the excitement of the holiday season, those in recovery feel distanced and alone. Moreover, during the holiday season, the expectations of family members also increase, and they start to demand every ounce of your attention. Such situations make it hard for you to put your attention somewhere else.
However, you are not alone: and it is normal to feel this way. According to NIAAA, 10 percent of US adults suffer from substance abuse at least once in their life. Hence, holidays can put your health at risk and jeopardize your sober behavior.
If you are just out of rehab and still recovering, you may need to take control of the situation and maintain your sobriety. Here are some efficient ways you can opt to stay sober during the holidays.
1. Avoid Your Triggers
The holidays can bring back loads of memories. For instance, you may meet an old friend or a colleague that reminds you of substance use or visit a similar place where you did drugs or alcohol. Such situations are potentially triggering, and they can stimulate relapse.
If you are experiencing a relapse, consider rehab or a center like the Palm Beach Group. Such institutions offer facilities that help to treat relapse patients via medical detox, partial hospitalization, and inpatient and outpatient treatment. Moreover, you can stay in their residential spaces if you require a secluded environment.
Always come prepared, keep an exit plan in your head, take control of your decisions, and stay away from an environment that can damage your sobriety.
02. Know Your Limits
We all know an uncle or aunt that insists on trying a new drink or criticizes our choices. The increasing family expectations can pressure or convince you to try one drink. Moreover, strained family relationships and stress can cause you to rationalize that you are entitled to a drink or two.
According to Very Well Mind, family and peer pressure play a significant role in shaping a child’s behavior, social activities, and coping mechanisms. Moreover, several types of addiction can occur if the child experiences negative peer pressure or an unsupportive, abusive household.
Always spend a healthy time with relatives and family and surround yourself with supportive people.
03. Prioritize Self-care and Sobriety
Celebrate the holidays, relax, and focus on yourself. Take better care of your body via exercise and proper nutrition. In addition, improve your mental health via meditation to grow mentally, emotionally, and physically strong.
You can also practice self-care by avoiding stress, relaxing, exercising, going out, participating in social and creative hobbies, and getting a spa treatment.
04. Indulge in Spiritual Practices
Find time to meditate and connect with God to nurture and relax your soul. No matter how busy you are, take some time to sit in a quiet place and meditate or say a prayer. It helps to calm your nerves and channels your inner energy towards positive things.
Meditation will assist you in finding a purpose for your life and balancing the negativity.
According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation helps to increase self-awareness, alleviate negative thoughts, increase patience, and improve sleep. Moreover, it also diminishes symptoms of anxiety, IBS, cancer, depression, and cardiovascular diseases.
05. Help Others
If you want to stay sober during the holidays, consider helping others. Serve warm meals to the homeless, participate in charity, and spend time with the elderly, family, or sick relatives. It will divert your mind to purposeful and positive things.
You can also help around the house via small activities like cleaning the dishes and taking out the trash. Helping others will guide you away from fear, guilt, and self-pity.
Moreover, it will awaken a sense of empathy, and you will move toward a balanced and harmonious life.
06. Watch Your Diet
Always stay cautious about what you eat or drink during the holidays. You can have a non-alcoholic drink or bring your own to stay safe. Moreover, avoid grabbing a drink from someone else because they may accidentally grab an alcoholic one.
However, if you accidentally drink a sip of it, do not panic and try to drink something else to tone it down. If you feel overwhelmed thinking about it, consider talking to a friend, loved one, or sponsor to guide you in this matter.
You can consume healthy meal choices like lean meat, veggies, and fruits to satisfy your cravings and aid recovery. According to the Gateway Foundation, leafy green vegetables like kale and starchy vegetables like potatoes help addiction recovery from drugs and alcohol.
07. Seek Help and Support
The holiday season is full of surprises, excitement, and fun. However, as we move towards the end, it gets tiring, and you may need some assistance getting back into a routine. Moreover, as we know, boredom triggers relapse; hence, you should indulge in some activities.
Try playing some fun games with your family and friends or travel to another city to divert your mind.
If you feel that the crippling thoughts of relapse are kicking in, consider joining a 12-step program to stay in the recovery loop and attend meetings to maintain contact with your sober friends.
It is normal to seek help from others, and it does not make you an inferior person or a dependent addict. Therefore, feel free to ask for guidance from people close to you.
08. Manage Stress
Holidays are fun days, but they also come with their stressors. Whether it is because of family, relatives, friends, or acquaintances, you need to master stress management. Learn to channel your stress into something positive and productive.
In the past, you dealt with stress by consuming drugs or alcohol. However, now that you are in recovery: opt for healthy strategies like gym, cycling, or swimming to manage your stress.
Conclusion: Sobriety comes with consistency and control. It is fatiguing to manage, especially during the holiday season. However, taking responsibility for your actions, practicing self-care, and taking control of the situation will help you enjoy life, spend time with family and friends, and get the mental peace you deserve.