Preparing for Holiday Challenges to Addiction Recovery

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  • 13/03/2023

Doing things like skipping a meal, or not including protein can lower your resilience or the ability for you to handle what life is throwing at you. If you live with others, let them join in the food preparation. If cooking is overwhelming, choose premade foods that are good for you.

  • In this article, we’ll explore the nuances of addiction during the holiday season and guide you in finding hope and support.
  • In season, farmers markets provide access to quality produce at reasonable prices.
  • You may think you can hang out at your local bar again and drink with buddies — just once — promising yourself you’ll only drink coffee or a soft drink.
  • For those in early recovery, you’ve probably haven’t seen some family members and friends in awhile.

First and foremost, it’s important to remember the reasons why you’re attending treatment in the first place. One of these reasons likely includes becoming healthier for your family, friends and loved ones. While it can be difficult to be in treatment during the holidays, know that the hard work you’re doing now can bring you to a better future. In the middle of a party where it seems like everyone is having fun and that alcohol and drugs are part of that fun, your reasons for staying sober can sometimes seem to just fade away. The holidays may come with expectations, such as shopping, travel, cooking, and multiple social gatherings. People in early recovery are often experiencing difficult personal or financial circumstances while at the same time trying to learn to live without the substance that had become central to their lives.

The Season of Recovery

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  • The holidays can be difficult for many people, but those who are newly sober face even greater challenges.
  • Everyone deals with holiday stress, but for people in recovery trying to stay sober, the holiday season places unprecedented challenges.
  • A coach will generally work with an individual several times a week to be an accountability partner and work through obstacles to a comfortable and meaningful recovery.
  • Doing things like skipping a meal, or not including protein can lower your resilience or the ability for you to handle what life is throwing at you.
  • You may or may not choose to join family for the holidays depending on your needs in early recovery, and the circumstances of pandemic planning.

In order to avoid misunderstanding, talk these things out with them in advance. Use your judgement – you don’t have to tell everyone at the party. This is an ongoing adage in recovery, because each phase will eventually pass. Remember that early recovery doesn’t last forever – if you have to alter your plans dramatically this year, that doesn’t mean you have to do it this way every year.

Have non-alcoholic drinks available.

Many recovery coaches meet with clients virtually, so it’s easy to fit coaching into a daily schedule. Thinking about how you will handle the tempting situations you will encounter over the holidays will help you make a plan that will allow you to navigate them successfully. The holidays can be difficult for many people, but those who are newly sober face even greater challenges.

reframing holidays in early recovery

One of the primary objectives in recovery is to get to the point of being able to navigate challenging social situations. The sober life brings many rewards, but it isn’t realistic to believe that one can go through life never being around alcohol or other temptations. However, a young person in early sobriety is particularly vulnerable because they haven’t yet developed confidence in their sober lifestyle. Every late-November through December we are encouraged—sometimes even pressured, directly and indirectly—to celebrate the holidays that mark each year’s conclusion. Now is the time to make a holiday safety plan that will help you achieve your recovery goals and navigate the difficulties of Christmas and New Year’s.

Establishing Healthy Boundaries During the Holidays

Additionally, you may want to rearrange your treatment schedule if you are planning to attend holiday gatherings. Ask if they’d like to invite someone or invite others who do not drink. Regardless of whether alcohol is served or not, the recovering person may want to invite a recovering guest.

reframing holidays in early recovery

Read Kali’s story, Alone on Christmas, for strategies on how to cope when spending the holidays alone. • Remember that putting your sobriety first is your priority. Spend time with sober friends instead, or create a new tradition like volunteering at a soup kitchen. The combination of alcohol and family dynamics can be challenging.

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