The holidays at the end of the year can be a rough time for anyone and no less so than for recovering addicts. For alcoholics, the number of holiday parties can seem less like joyous gatherings and more like a constant reminder of their condition. Being surrounded by people drinking and with ready access to alcohol, it can be too much for some people and make it all too easy to risk their hard-earned sobriety. The stress associated with the holidays can easily facilitate the activation of triggers in many addicts, pushing them back toward using again. Here are a couple of simple holiday stress tips to maintain your sobriety during the season.
Don’t be afraid to say no
If you feel that going to a particular event may place your sobriety in question, then it is best to decline the invitation politely but firmly. It is not worth relapsing just to attend a holiday function. Holiday parties are usually filled with alcohol and for recovering alcoholics it might be best to avoid the eggnog and the bar, or better still, if you know that the holiday party is going to lean more toward the crazy side, it might be best to skip it and attend a quieter celebration
Don’t stay alone
On the other hand, it is probably best not to spend too much time alone. This can lead to depression or boredom, which in turn can push someone to seek out a particular drug of choice. The pressure of the holidays is hard on everyone, particularly single people. Keeping company with other people, especially people that will not only keep your spirits high but also support your intentions to remain clean is optimal. If you have family, it is best to remain around them rather than friends, unless they are as dedicated to helping you stay clean and sober as you are.
Follow through on your normal routine
Make sure that you are keeping in your usual routine of going to support groups and meetings. The holidays offer perfect excuses to slip out of the carefully crafted lifestyle that you are trying to develop. Breaking with your routine is one of the fastest ways to fall back into old habits, particularly with the stress that often comes with the holidays. Between trying to please everyone and shopping for the perfect gift, average people are often highly stressed. It can be much worse for people in recovery. People are your regular meetings will know exactly what you are going through, which offers another reason to continue regular attendance, if only for a place to vent your frustrations.
Although the season can bring a lot of burdens for people in recovery, it is still a reason to celebrate a life of sobriety and there is no reason not to spend it with the people that you love. Hopefully these holiday stress tips were both infromative and helpful for you. By being a little more cautious and exercising some restraint, this time of the year doesn’t have to be a cause for a relapse and can remain full of fun, providing lasting memories of why you choose to remain clean.