Can you believe it is almost 2020? 2019 went by so fast. We are already getting ready for the holidays.
What does this mean to those in recovery, especially individuals in early recovery? Well, with so many parties where alcohol is involved or present other triggers that can make recovering individuals think of drinking or using, this time of the year can be a difficult time to maintain sobriety. As individuals in recovery are cautioned, nobody is ever “cured” and addiction has long-lasting effects. So, it is important to keep the routine by staying active with recovery activities, such as meetings. If traveling, making plans ahead of time will help you stay committed and motivated. To have a safe and happy holiday, it’s important to be aware of the dangers, triggers, and strategies needed to keep anxiety, depression, stress, and addiction under control.
Are you in early recovery? Treating the holiday season like any other day can help you keep things in perspective where sobriety is concerned. Remember, the holidays should not be the excuse or the reason to put yourself in any dangerous or uncomfortable position. Consider connecting with a therapist and working on a mental health plan for the holidays.
Like any other day:
- If your heart isn’t into the holiday get-together, you have a choice—don’t go
- If you feel certain family members or friends might be a trigger for you or in some way may encourage you to drink, you have a choice—don’t go
- If there is a gift exchange among friends who generally are heavy drinkers and/or exchange alcohol-related gifts, and that makes you uncomfortable, you have a choice—don’t go
- If you are feeling out of balance it is important to share your feeling with people you trust. Reach out to your support system. They can offer guidance and remind you that you are not alone.
There will always be addiction triggers and holiday season issues to deal with. The sooner you find ways to cope with it, the sooner you can enjoy the holidays without having to worry about relapse. The bottom line is you are in control of the holidays, not the other way around. Take the lead, have your own sober parties. Take this time to make new memories. Show family and friends you have changed and have changed your behavior. You are doing better. Start new traditions. Cook and eat special dishes, give to the less fortunate and be merry. But most importantly take the time to be gentle with yourselves and realize you are not the things you did. Enjoy this year’s holiday season for what they are – new, sober experiences.
Remember, if it all gets to be too much, there is help available to you. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
From all of us at Florida Center for Recovery, we truly offer you and yours our best wishes for a great holiday season filled with happiness.
Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.