While the holidays are commonly referred to as the most wonderful time of the year, they can also be a stressful, emotional, and triggering time of the year for many. The holiday season means festivities, parties, and celebrations galore. Which almost always guarantees plenty of food and drink. For those in recovery, the holidays can be a tempting and trying time. Not only can reuniting with family members feel stressful, but also being exposed to the alcohol and toasts that the holidays bring, make staying sober a real test. Here are a few tips on how to maintain your sobriety this holiday season!
1. Feel Comfortable Saying No
While you might feel obligated to attend holiday festivities, saying no is okay! At first you might be worried about disappointing the host, but they should understand, especially if they know your reasons why. If they don’t seem to understand, just remember you are doing yourself a huge favor. Have conversations with your loved ones ahead of time to set expectations about your boundaries and what you think you can commit to this year, so they can best support you. You are helping yourself by avoiding situations where you might feel triggered and at risk of relapsing.
2. Lean on Your Support System
Your support system is going to be the best way to get through the holidays. Whether it is your family or other sober students, talking to them about how you’re feeling can help them understand what you’re going through and how they might be able to support you. Maybe it’s a conversation with a close family member asking them to prepare extended family for what you’ve been going through. Perhaps it’s a call to a friend in recovery who can completely relate to what you’re feeling and offer some guidance. Whoever your support system may be, it’s important to reach out and connect with them when you’re struggling.
3. Prioritize Self-Care
Your self-care routine is essential during the holidays because it’s a time of year that can derail your daily routine. While in the past you may have used drinking and drugs as your outlet to get through the holidays, in recovery, you must find new ways to cope. Maybe it’s doing yoga or going on a hike, or perhaps it’s baking and decorating cookies, or potentially going on a walk and getting coffee with a friend. Whatever it is that makes you feel more at peace and calm, make sure to prioritize it during this busy time.
Some of these steps might seem easier said than done, but the more you practice them, the less daunting they will feel. Kicking the New Year off knowing you made it through the holidays without relapsing will feel like an amazing accomplishment.