Whether you are new to recovery or have been around the block, the holiday season can be a tricky time to navigate. With family events, work parties and holiday catch-ups, it can seem the entire season, in some way, revolves around excessive drinking and partying. Indeed, those old ideas of not feeling ‘part of’ and ‘on the outside’ can come up with a vengeance!
At Transitions, we aim to prepare our clients for any situation which might leave them vulnerable to relapse. We have put together some helpful tips to support you on your way to having a safe and sober holiday season!
1) Have a plan!
While it may seem obvious, planning ahead is a simple and incredibly effective tool to guard against the holiday blues. With most events centred around alcohol and partying, preparing for triggers and uncomfortable situations is vital. Whether it’s a quick phone call to another sober friend during the party or sneaking away for a 12-step meeting (yes, they still run during the holidays!), being prepared for difficulties is a great way to overcome them!
2) Be useful!
Being of service is an excellent way to allay fears about drinking as it focuses our mind on something external to the sometimes overbearing thought inside our head. Volunteer to dress up as Santa, lay the table and help with the dishes, or visit an elderly friend. Any opportunity you can, try to focus on others and what you can do for them. Being useful is an excellent protection against falling into the bitter morass of fear, resentment and self-pity.
3) Choose your events carefully.
Safeguarding our recovery is of the utmost importance at this time of year. We don’t have to go to every single party we are invited to; in fact, as sober people in recovery, we now have choices! If boozing is the main activity at a party, then making a brief appearance at the beginning before things get messy might be just the ticket. It is always acceptable to leave a party early, especially if it’s to look after your sobriety.
4) Draw on your support network.
In recovery, we learn that we cannot do it alone. We work hard to create and maintain relationships supportive of our recovery. Speak to a safe friend about how you are feeling before the holiday season, and check in with sober friends throughout the holidays. Try to alleviate the build-up of stress and anxiety, as this can create a perfect haven for relapse. Remember, you are not alone!
5) Look after your body, mind and spirit.
Taking time for ourselves throughout the holidays is absolutely ok. Hanging around at parties when not drinking or using can be draining and leave us exhausted. It is important to practice self-care and protect against the seasonal scaries. Making sure to get plenty of exercises, proper nutrition, and gentle relaxation – take the time to nourish your mind, body and spirit.
Whether it’s your first or fortieth sober silly season, being prepared and realising we are not alone during this time of year is critical. At Transitions Bali, we are here with you on every step of the journey. Our secondary and tertiary treatment programmes help those in recovery prepare for life in the outside world without drugs or alcohol. To learn more, contact us today!