The holidays present unique challenges to staying on track with our goals of sobriety. We associate the holidays with celebration, and over the course of our addictions, we came to associate celebration with drugs and alcohol. Here are a few suggestions for keeping yourself in line with your sobriety during the holiday season.
Make time to listen to yourself, and trust your instincts. Being busy with the holiday season, entertaining family and friends, all the shopping, cooking and cleaning, can take us away from ourselves. We stop listening to our inner voice and intuition. We might ignore our instincts telling us that we’re getting burned out, that we’re feeling really anxious and depressed, or that our stress is overwhelming us. When we don’t listen to our instincts, we’re more likely to get off track. We might be more tempted to use because we’re more disconnected from ourselves. Paying attention to our inner voice can rejuvenate us and give us back the strength we need to keep going with our goals of sobriety. It can help us to navigate the stresses and demands of the holiday season without getting so overwhelmed that we fall off the wagon.
Keep up with the practices that help you to stay sober. Whether it’s your spiritual practice of meditating in the morning, or a gratitude practice, or exercising to help keep your stress levels low, maintain your regular routine as much as possible during the holidays. The change in schedule, the parties and special events, and visiting with loved ones, can make us want to forego our practices. We think one day off won’t hurt, but often one day turns into two, which turns into a week. Before we know it, we’re not feeling like ourselves. We’re feeling down, depressed or overwhelmed. The grounding, calming and centering practices we’ve developed help keep us sober, and if we start to neglect them during the holidays, we run the risk of breaking down our willpower. We can lose our sense of direction and groundedness. We can be tempted to turn to our addictions to cope.
Feel your emotions. For many of us, the holidays are about merriment and fun, but they can also bring up some difficult emotions. We might feel particularly lonely. We might be grieving a loss. We might feel a bit of the holiday blues. Let yourself feel whatever feelings come up. Don’t think you need to plaster on a smile and keep it on all holiday season. That’s not realistic. Let yourself enjoy the holidays but also feel anything you need to feel. This will allow you to move through your challenging emotions more easily and naturally as you celebrate the holidays.
Our years of experience with addiction recovery make us specially equipped to help you navigate the various challenges that come with addiction. Call 888-570-7154 for more information.