Christmas and New Year’s are challenging times if you’re recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Office parties, family gatherings, travel stress and emotional turmoil increase the likelihood you’ll be tempted to relapse.
Everyone handles the holidays differently. But there are strategies you can use to keep addictions at bay.
• Have a plan. Don’t leave sobriety to chance. Decide how you’ll get through each day. Your plan should include “the big picture” as well as details for specific events.
• Attend meetings. Now’s not the time skip support groups. In fact, you might fit in one or two extras to minimize the strain. Even if you plan to travel, you can find Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings nearby.
• Ask for support from your family and friends. There are plenty of folks who want you to succeed. Let each one know how he or she can help. Invite Sis over to watch your favorite chick flick. Or request that your parents not serve wine at Christmas dinner.
• Avoid slippery situations. Don’t watch bowl games if they trigger the urge for a few beers. And there’s no reason to pay a visit to your former favorite establishments.
• Lower the social bar. You don’t have to go to every party. If you can’t attend without wanting a drink, decline the invite. Or consider asking a friend from your program to go with you. Set a time limit and leave after an hour or two.
• Identify 10 friends you can call in a pinch. These are trusted folks you can turn to at the first hint of uneasiness or temptation. Keep your cellphone with you at all times. You never know when you’re going to need it.
• Take good care of yourself. Get enough rest. Eat regular meals. Spend time with friends. Exercise regularly. A calm, relaxed body enables you to make the right decisions.
• Be of service. Help a person new to recovery. Volunteer to feed the homeless. Offer to baby-sit your nieces and nephews. You’ll infuse the world with your positive vibes and feel like a million bucks.
• Let go of the past. Stop thinking about others’ transgressions. Quit obsessing about perceived failings. Keep your mind locked on the present. Allow yourself to move forward.
• Be grateful. Compile a list of blessings. Add to it every day. Consider sending thankyou notes to folks who have been important throughout the year.
• Write a letter to yourself. Dr. Larry Smith, author of “Embrace the Journey of Recovery: From Tragedy to Triumph!” advocates writing a letter titled “How I stayed sober from Christmas through New Year’s.” Outline the activities and events you’ll use to make a happy and sober holiday. Then follow your own advice.
• Create new traditions that replace old using patterns. Host a cribbage tournament or go kayaking on Morro Bay. Whatever you do, have fun, be with loved ones and celebrate your sober lifestyle.
Read more here: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2014/12/23/3411847_how-drug-and-alcohol-addicts-can.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy