At their core, the holidays represent an opportunity to gather with friends and family, indulge in delicious food, exchange gifts and take stock of the year. For many in recovery, however, the holidays can signify a serious challenge to ongoing sobriety. Those who are new to recovery, may find themselves especially vulnerable to relapse during this time of year. In order to stay sober during the holidays, it helps to identify some of the factors that can trigger relapse and the steps we can take to avoid them. If we’re going to stay sober during the holidays, we will need a game plan for success.
The first step to staying sober during the holidays is recognizing our vulnerabilities and being honest with ourselves regarding how much celebration we can take. Many of us who are new to the recovery may still be having a hard to reintegrating ourselves back into our family dynamic. Seeing extended family, many of whom we may not have even seen since we were actively abusing substances can be an overwhelming and difficult experience. Financial difficulty and the pressure to buy gifts can also be another obstacle, along with the pervasive presence of alcohol during celebrations with family and loved ones.
We can protect ourselves from these types of pitfalls by exercising simple self-awareness and preparation. For starters, we may want to bolster our attendance at meetings leading up to the holiday season. This will allow us to voice our concerns to others who understand what we’re going through. We should also keep the contact information for our sponsor, therapist, or support system close at hand for when we’re feeling particularly vulnerable. Staying sober during the holidays is considerably easier if we know what’s coming and we empower ourselves to prepare for the factors that can trigger relapse. Recovery Unplugged Texas wishes everyone a safe, happy and sober holiday.