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Maintaining Sobriety During a Challenging Holiday Season

The holidays are here, and for many of us, the traditions that we keep close to our hearts will look a bit different this year. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, holiday gatherings outside of one’s household have been discouraged, and for countless people, these health and safety concerns have led to spending the holidays alone.

For individuals in recovery from addiction, these feelings of loneliness can be easily amplified. In a time when so many are struggling with grief, depression, and a tremendous sense of loss, the holiday season can bring difficult emotions that are particularly challenging when also fighting the daily battle to remain sober.

While nothing can completely replace the experiences we may miss out on this year, coming up with a plan is the best approach to staying sober and finding ways to cope.

#1: Enlist a Support Network

 Finding an in-person community for support has been difficult this year, though there are still plenty of ways to connect with others. During this time, check in regularly with those you rely on for support, whether they’re a sponsor, a friend, a family member, or a mental health professional. Keeping regular communication with your support network will help you in feeling connected to others. This is a strange holiday season for everyone — and we are in it together. 

#2: Create New Traditions

 Mourning the loss of normal traditions with family and friends may be a part of your holiday experience this year. Whether you’re far away from home or navigating your first holiday season in sobriety, you have an opportunity to create new traditions that will honor the journey you’re on. Have a morning meditation session, go for a long walk, try a new recipe, or make a point to reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Find a way to be active, a way to connect with others, and a way to connect with yourself. Above all, be gentle with your emotions, and know that getting through the holidays is an achievement in itself.

#3: Cultivate Gratitude 

In a year marked by so much loss, finding ways to express gratitude can be the ultimate challenge. Reflecting on our experiences can bring up difficult emotions, though it can also provide an opportunity to recognize how much we have overcome, how others have helped us, and how small the world truly is.

Soon, the holidays will have passed, and we will have a new year to welcome. And although 2021 will have its own unique challenges and obstacles to overcome, it represents what we have been searching for in the ruins of this year: possibility.

The possibility of normalcy. The possibility of traditions returning to us. The possibility of finding something better than what we’ve left behind.

The end of this year reminds us that we have survived all of our worst days. That resilience is an essential component of growth. And that no matter what we are going through, or the physical distance that has been placed between us, we are never alone.

Take time this holiday season to honor the journey you’ve been on in sobriety. Regardless of your setbacks, and regardless of expectations. You’ve survived one of the most challenging years our world has collectively experienced — and you are here to tell your story, despite it all.

At RECO, we are with you every step of the way. If you need extra support during this holiday season, please do not hesitate to reach out.

“And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been, full of work that has never been done, full of tasks, claims, and demands; and let us see that we learn to take it without letting fall too much of what it has to bestow upon those who demand of it necessary, serious, and great things.”

–Rainer Maria Rilke

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