The holiday season is filled with parties, celebrations and more than a few temptations. If you’re in recovery, this can be one of the most difficult times of the year to maintain your sobriety.
“It takes strength, determination and dedication to live a life of sobriety,” says Sandy Boller-Bilbrey, RN, director of the Scripps Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program. “It’s important for people in recovery to develop tools to help them stay committed to their recovery.”
The following tips can help you navigate the temptations of the holidays and give you valuable tools to stay on track.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or anxious during one of the busiest times of the year. Don’t let yourself get overly stressed. Take a deep breath and a few minutes to physically and mentally calm yourself. You’ll regain your perspective and will feel more in control.
If your usual holiday celebrations include parties and events where you know there will be alcohol served, change it up. Avoid the temptation by going to events that do not center around drinking or celebrate with others in recovery.
Don’t keep alcohol in your house, even bottles “for guests” or special occasions. Throw out what you have in the house to avoid the temptation.
A sponsor understands what you’re going through and can help you stay on track. Keep an open mind about their advice, ideas and viewpoints. Check with Alcoholics Anonymous, your rehabilitation center or church group to locate a sponsor.
Many people find the holidays to be a lonely time, and if you’re avoiding parties with alcohol, it can feel even more isolating. Loneliness can be dangerous to your sobriety. Plan to spend time with friends and family who will support your recovery and provide positive reinforcement.
Take a fitness class, play basketball or go for a run. Find what you like to do for exercise and get active. Exercise releases endorphins to improve your mood and will help give you more confidence in yourself. You’ll feel energized, alive, and best of all, sober.
Addiction takes a toll on your self-esteem. Do things that make you feel good about yourself like getting a massage, buying a new shirt or eating a meal you really enjoy. You’ve worked hard to get to where you are, enjoy your accomplishment.
One of the best ways to get over your past mistakes is to own up to them, make amends – if possible – and look forward to the future.
Helping others will make you feel good about yourself and will help the community. Volunteer your time at a soup kitchen, animal shelter, hospital or charity.
Let others know when you feel good about yourself, your sobriety and your life. A joyful life is the reward for sobriety.