The holiday season equates to more than a month of various planned parties, casual get-togethers, spontaneous celebrations and family obligations. Between shopping, decorating and wrapping gifts, you may begin to feel like you are getting stretched too thin. Here’s what to do if stress begins to threaten your recovery process over the next few weeks.
1. Plan, Plan and Plan Some More
You can still enjoy holiday gatherings as someone in sobriety, but doing so requires you to take precautions. For example, drive yourself to parties so you can leave early if you’re experiencing triggers, or if you feel like things are getting out of hand.
Another strategy you can try is to invite a sober sponsor or friend to parties with you as your “plus-one.” They can keep you accountable and serve as a source of support. When your cravings are out of control due to the presence of drinking, drugs or other people, you can rely on this person to help you make a graceful exit if you need to.
2. Prioritize Your Self-Care
Self-care is a vital part of addiction recovery, especially during stressful times. If your batteries are drained, you can’t be at your best, and you won’t be resilient against stressful situations. Give yourself the gift of time. Take a nap, go for a walk, do a crossword puzzle, sit in a cafe and watch the world go by – there are nearly endless forms of self-care. Choose one or more that makes you feel happy, calm and relaxed.
3. Increase Your Support Network
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the responsibilities that come along with the holiday season. As you plan your month, start with support group meetings as your top priority. Have a sober sponsor you can call if you’re having a difficult day. If your plans involve traveling out of town, find a 12-step or other support group you can join there, or rely on an online one.
4. Limit Family Time, If Necessary
Deep down, you love your family, but you also know they can be an incredible source of holiday stress. Whether it’s your nosy aunt who won’t stop pestering you with questions about going through rehab, or a cousin who keeps pressuring you to have “just one beer” with them, this type of stress can start to break down the boundaries you have so carefully set. As soon as you can, politely remove yourself from the situation. If necessary, go to an unoccupied room and sit quietly, taking deep breaths until you feel better. There is no harm in leaving early, either. You know what’s best for you.
Commit to Finding Yourself This Holiday Season
Despite what TV commercials would have you believe, the holidays aren’t a contest to see who can buy the biggest and best gifts. Instead, they are a time to count your blessings – especially your hard-earned sobriety.
If you’re looking for a place to start your journey toward whole-person health and wellness, Spearhead Lodge is the haven you have been seeking. Our unique approach to recovery for young men is rooted in proven 12-step methods that have helped people reclaim their lives from addiction for more than 80 years. Contact us today to get started.