Recovering Addicts: Start the Holiday Season Strong in Your Sobriety

Posted by | Relapse Prevention, Treatment Programs | December 14, 2015

If you’re someone who is easily sensitive, susceptible to emotional experiences, and thin-skinned, perhaps you need a plan for the holidays. This time of the year usually includes family get-togethers and celebrations with friends, which can create social anxiety and other types of uncomfortable emotional experiences. It’s common for addicts and those who are sensitive to withdraw and isolate from the world. However, if you’re obligated to attend certain events this time of year, there are some steps you can take to make your experience easier.

First, as this title of this article suggests, start out strong by making a plan. You can begin planning by pairing up with a supportive friend. This friend or loved one can be your sober companion throughout the holiday season. You might share your challenges, provide support to one another, and express your increased commitments to stay sober.

Another way to start off the season strong is to attend more AA meetings or support groups. If this is a particularly emotionally challenging time of year then having a sturdy circle of support can strengthen your resolve to stay sober, even when you’re feeling emotionally stressed. This is the time of year that people feel lonely, guilty, shameful, angry, regretful, sad, or depressed. And these emotions are precisely the ones that can create cravings to drink or get high. In fact, one of the most common reasons why a person turns to alcohol or drugs is because they are in emotional, psychological, or physical pain.

Interestingly, a person tends to remember the events in life that are emotionally charged. For instance, if during the holidays one year there was a lot of anxiety in a person’s family, then it’s likely that during subsequent holidays that anxiety might remain in a person’s memory. It’s for this reason that this time of year can bring emotional stress and tension.

However, with the right support, there are a plenty of ways to move through those moments of holiday stress. Another way to stay strong in your sobriety is to know what your limits are. If you know that you need to get a full 8 hours of sleep to take care of yourself physically, then you may have to leave the late-night party early and go home to sleep. Another example of setting limits is not going to any party or celebration where there is alcohol or drugs. You might do this if you are still early in your recovery and feel that being around substances would be a threat. Although this might keep you going to certain celebrations, you’re doing what you need to do to keep yourself sober.

In summary, here are the ways to beat the emotional stressors of the holidays and stay strong in your sobriety:

  • –Buddy up with a friend
  • –Attend more AA meetings or support groups
  • –Know what your limits are
  • –Take care of yourself physically

 

And if you feel that you need professional support during this time, contact your therapist, drug counselor, or other mental health provider.

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