Staying Centered and Sober during the Holidays

Recovery Unplugged wants to wish everyone a happy, healthy and hopeful holiday season while recognizing the plight of those in recovery during this often-bittersweet time of year. We are fully mindful that the holidays can represent different feelings and memories for the recovery community: the family with whom they’re estranged, the gifts they can no longer afford to buy, the parties to which they’re no longer invited, etc. It’s also true, however, that the holidays can be a warm and fulfilling reminder of the good in our lives and how far we’ve come since entering treatment. They can remind us how we were able to regain what our substance use once took away from us, and how important it is to nurture these treasures.

This recognition and nurturing, however, takes work; and the reality is that the holidays can often bring pitfalls for which we must be prepared: the financial stress associated with buying gifts; the presence of alcohol at parties; the anxiety over seeing people we haven’t seen since entering recovery, etc. A little extra self-awareness and planning can make all the difference in helping us stay sober during the holidays. Things like increased attendance at meetings, working on a relapse-prevention plan with our therapists, having our sponsors or support-systems close by, and understanding our emotional limitations can help us avoid putting undue pressure on ourselves.

If, like many, we do happen to experience a slip-up or setback, it’s important to realize that it’s not the end of the world or our recovery. As sure and certain as we think we are in our everyday routines, it’s critical to remember that recovery is a lifelong endeavor and relapse can happen to anyone. Have a plan in place to seamlessly transition back into treatment while embracing your support system. You don’t have to let relapse define your or ruin your holiday. Recovery Unplugged encourages all who suffer a relapse this holiday season, as well as those who have not yet found their way to treatment to get the help they need. Happy Holidays and best wishes from our family to yours.