During the holidays most addicts are confronted directly by shame and loneliness, perhaps for the very first time, as they are made keenly aware that their addictive behavior has created an emotional divide between themselves and the people they most care about. Along with the holiday season comes an increased danger of deep depression and relapse. Whether you yourself are struggling with addiction or know someone who is, the holidays offer a unique opportunity to reach out to a loved one that is struggling with substance abuse.
Family gatherings can be emotionally stressful and can easily trigger a relapse and the pursuit of unhealthy coping mechanisms. During this volatile time of year loved ones can provide essential support for those in recovery. A little planning ahead can go a long way to help avoid emotional pitfalls, cravings, difficult situations, and dire consequences.
Here are some tips for the holidays for those who are recovering, and for those who love someone in recovery:
Change the menu
Replace alcohol consumption with other activities like talking, music, games, or sports. Perhaps adopt a new tradition of foods or non-alcoholic drinks with the holidays.
Provide a non-alcoholic environment
Let people in your life know what is going on and how they can best support your recovery. If anyone objects perhaps then is a good time to consider the nature of your connection.
Have a plan to deal with the unexpected
Always have a way to contact your support team. Cravings and emotions can often be very overwhelming, particularly for those in the early stages of recovery. It is often hard for the addict to be objective and respond appropriately to any given situation, reach out to those who are best qualified to help you.
Use the buddy system
If you are in recovery, consider taking a friend who has achieved long-term sobriety with you to your various holiday gatherings. This person is uniquely qualified to help you, though recovery is an individual pursuit it is also about community.
If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take a step back and some time out for yourself. Fighting fatigue can deplete your willpower and ability to cope with stressful situations. Remember you need to take care of yourself and safeguard your sobriety. When its all said and done yule be happy you did. Happy Holidays!