Staying Sober Through the Holidays

The holiday season is approaching quickly and it is not always the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. It can be a very trying time for many, especially those facing drug and alcohol addictions. This is because they tend to be a trigger for some of us who have difficult pasts or complicated family situations. This season can sometimes bring up certain repressed thoughts or memories that are associated with these events. Holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year are traditionally seen as a time to come together and spend time with loved ones. This can be quite stressful for those who do not have an ideal family relationship. Women in particular tend to have multiple responsibilities between juggling their work along with families and are expected by society to meet certain standards. The stress of these circumstances are enhanced by the holiday season and can cause feelings of grief or anguish for women especially when battling drug and alcohol addiction. With these issues so prevalent today and the holidays in full swing, it is important to prepare and stay mindful of our choices this season.

Obstacles Faced During the Holidays Regarding Addiction

The Holidays are known to be centered around parties, get-togethers, and family reunions. In today’s society, certain behaviors as well as the consumption of alcohol or use of certain drugs have become socially acceptable in these settings. This can make it difficult to stay focused on your recovery and increases the risk of relapse. With these events so close to the near future, it is important that we stay adamant and check in with ourselves. Adapting healthy coping skills can assist us in getting through these difficult times and trials in our lives.

Know Your Triggers To Avoid Drug and Alcohol Relapse

A good way to eliminate the chances of relapse is to keep track of what has triggered you in the past. Keeping inventory of possible circumstances or situations that have caused issues previously can prevent them from continuing in the future and therefore avoid relapse. Becoming aware of some emotions and disorders that bring on triggers can also be helpful. There are a number of factors that come into play and can be amplified by the holidays. Examples of these are:

  • Anxiety - Which can be brought on by stressful family reunions or lack of family support.
  • Anger - This emotion can come out if friends or family are not understanding of our addictions and our boundaries during the holidays.
  • Depression - Which is common in these settings considering the emphasis that is put on family, thankfulness, and joy. When we have lost a loved one or have strained relationships, it tends to cast a shadow on our lives and prevents us from celebrating.

Stay Mindful and Proactive

Being diligent and taking the necessary steps to preserve your sobriety can have a lasting impact. Follow these tips to better ensure your safety and peace of mind this holiday season:

  • Stay around sober friends - Keep your company closely knit and be aware of who you can confidently assume will not be taking part in any drug or alcohol use.
  • Access community support - Search online for weekly meetings and support groups in your area to find like minded individuals who share your story
  • Help others - Taking part in community service, or volunteering at a local soup kitchen can be a positive, selfless alternative to other activities that could promote the idea of drug or alcohol use.
  • Have a sober companion on standby - Be prepared to call a trusted friend to provide support and talk you down incase your cravings have increased.
  • Make a list of sober activities - Plan ahead by writing out possible events or activities that are guaranteed drug and alcohol free.
  • Be Cautious - Keep in mind which activities will be safe to attend and who to interact with.
  • Have an exit plan - If the event becomes triggering, have an excuse you can use to leave safely before you are tempted.
  • Exercise - Counteract your negative thoughts with a trip to the gym or a run around the neighborhood. This can lower you craving levels and prevent the chance of relapse.
  • Know your ‘why’ - Write down your personal reasons why you want to maintain sobriety.
  • Keep small reminders or souvenirs - AA chips with your clean time or other momentums that keep you aware of why you chose sobriety can be a helpful tool.
  • Try to set boundaries - Have a conversation with family and friends and make sure they’re aware of your triggers so they can avoid certain topics or behaviors as much as possible.
  • Prevent anxiety - Have coping mechanisms in mind (such as calling a friend or writing your thoughts down) to use when you feel anxiety or a panic attack coming on.
  • Adjust your attitude - Talk to a sponsor or other trusted individual about being forgiving and take into account that the holidays can be a stressful time for everyone.
  • Self care - Check in with yourself and stay on top of your mental and physical health. This will increase the chance of longterm sobriety.
  • Reduce isolation - Repressed memories of past traumas or the loss of loved ones can come up more so during the holiday season. Stay aware of your mindset and be prepared to reach out if you notice yourself secluding from others.

Reach Out Today To Find Help With Drug and Alcohol Addiction

The holidays can be a very complex time filled with mixed emotions and bittersweet memories. Although it is a stressful season and can be overwhelming, there is always assistance available for those who are struggling to stay sober, regardless of the time of year. There are countless individuals who strive to make a difference in the drug and alcohol recovery industry and many are located in Costa Mesa, CA.

At The Ho Tai Way, a Drug and Alcohol Rehab Center for women in Costa Mesa CA, you can start the journey to recovery and begin to rediscover yourself as well as restore both your physical and mental health. If you, or someone you know are in need of help and want to reclaim your identity, contact The Ho Tai Way today. With their knowledgable, welcoming team, they will guide you through the process with ease and find the treatment plan that best fits your personal needs. They offer group therapy as well as one on one sessions with a number of creative techniques. They understand the importance of togetherness and work hard to create a safe, healthy environment for each valued client.

References

  1. https://drugabuse.com/stay-sober-these-holidays/
  2. https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/articles/tips-for-enjoying-sober-holidays