The Dos and Don’ts of a Sober Holiday Season: Tips for Staying on Track
Spending the holiday season away from home or in a new environment is tough. The songs we hear, the movies we watch, the stories we listen to—so much of what we associate with the holidays revolves around the concept of home, and what home means to us.
When faced with homesickness and the other emotions the tend to appear during this time of year, it is important to create a plan for your sobriety and to make your support system aware of what you are dealing with. Chances are, they know exactly what you are going through, and can empathize and provide suggestions for a successful holiday in sobriety.
Whether you have recently completed treatment, or are still currently receiving care, the holiday season can be a challenging time. A highly emotional time of stress can lead to relapse if it is not managed appropriately, and staying focused on your sobriety and goals for the new year can make all the difference in ensuring a healthy and fulfilling closing of 2017.
Find the below tips, and share with others who may be facing a holiday season in a similar situation.
When certain feelings begin to pop up, recognize them. Ask yourself the proper questions before acting upon a feeling to ensure that you are processing emotion in a healthy way. If you feel cravings, call someone. Reach out to sober supports. Do something physical, like go for a run or meditate. Keep yourself surrounded by people who will support your goals, and make group plans to participate in sober activities. Temptation will happen, but if you stay on track and feel supported by the people around you, you will be better equipped to deal with it.
Attend a Special Meeting
Many AA and NA groups have meetings that coincide with the holidays, as many members are struggling with the same feelings and issues. Take full advantage of these offerings, and attend with an open mind. You are not alone in your struggle, and hearing the stories of others may help you realize this.
Create a Group of Support
Whether you are in a sober living home, in residential treatment, or facing the holidays independently, relying on your network of support during this time is crucial. Gathering together with others is a surefire way to build community and even have some fun. Allow yourself to feel whichever emotions you are feeling, but also soak in the energy of those around you as you create new holiday memories together.
Honor Your Progress
2017 was a difficult year. Though no matter what you have gone through in these past 12 months, there is always, always something to be grateful for. Honoring the progress you have made will not only solidify this past year of growth, but will also set the stage for a successful new year. Letting go of past mistakes and hurt will close one door and open another, allowing you to walk through with your head held high. Do not dwell on holidays past or even present, but instead focus on making next year’s holiday season even better.
It all starts with staying sober, and with honoring the life you have recreated for yourself.