Holidays In Recovery
Holidays for some is the best time of the year. Sometimes holidays in recovery can be the worst time of the year. We can find ourselves approaching the holidays bracing ourselves hoping not to hit an icy slope. We hope to skate on by January 1st coming out on the other side without a drink or a drug in our hand. We all have our own triggers or own stressors during these times, whether it’s that office party that you’ve blacked out at and embarrassed yourself every year, Aunt Bertha asking you why you are not married yet, not being able to afford that extra special gift you want to give, or not having any plans for the holiday at all. Having a plan in place for the holidays can help minimize triggers or help you work through them.
The CDC reports increased substance abuse death rates in December and January. Drugabuse.com surveyed more than 2,000 people about their emotional state during the holidays. Our results indicate that the majority of Americans are either overwhelmingly or moderately stressed during the holidays. For someone struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, the holidays can be an especially trying time to maintain sobriety.
According to a recent survey, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports that approximately 24% of people with a diagnosed mental illness find that the holidays make their condition “a lot” worse and 40% “somewhat” worse.”
Holidays in recovery can be hard but not impossible.
Tips for a holiday in recovery?
- Set boundaries
- Have an exit plan
- Keep your support system close
- Create new healthy traditions
If you know the office party will be very triggering and you are able to skip it, then go ahead and make other plans! You can kindly let everyone know you already have another engagement planned and do not even have to disclose what is really going on if you do not want to. Having boundaries set in place before the event will help with any unresolved feelings that come with it.
If you can’t miss that family gathering but you know how it has gotten ugly in the past, have an exit plan. Already have planned that you will not be staying long and make that known prior to going so Aunt Bertha cannot guilt you into staying for one more round of family traditions.
Keep your support system filled in on how certain events during the holidays make you feel. If you can, bring someone from your support system along. If you are unable to, make sure they know you may be calling them to lean on. Maybe skip it all and plan a support system holiday if that is what you want!
In the past years, I have taken on a love for baking. Now every holiday season I bake cookies from scratch once with my friends and once with my in-laws. Starting new healthy traditions not involving substances or triggers can help get through this season. It will also give you something to look forward to the following year.
With the end of December getting closer, think about your plan now and write it out to enjoy your holidays in recovery. When January 1st hits and you wake up hangover free, not dope sick, and actually slept the night before not spending it spun out, that will all be worth it. You will be giving yourself the best holiday gift of all.
If you or a loved one is currently still struggling this holiday season, reach out to Wavelengths Recovery at 844.325.5468 or visit us at www.wavelengths.com.