The holidays can be a fun and exciting time for many people but it’s also important to protect yourself against relapse during times when emotions, excitement, alcohol, and drugs can flow more readily. For those who are newly sober and clean after time spent in rehab in Austin, you can feel confident still having fun during these days of the year.
Make a Plan: Always drive yourself to any events so you are able to control your own destiny. You may want to bring along a supportive friend to help you pay attention to any triggers. Arrive early and leave early.
Make Self Care a Priority: You should celebrate holidays by taking care of your mind, soul, and body. You aren’t able to be your best self when you are feeling depleted. Take some time for yourself with a yoga class, time for mediation, or acupuncture. Some physical movement and the right nutrition can also help you feel stronger, both emotionally and physically.
Increase Support: During the holidays, it’s important to have someone for support. You may need to book-end a holiday event with a phone call to someone in your recovery bubble. If you are traveling to another city, try to come up with a plan to attend meetings there or use phone calls to stay connected.
Know Your Limits: Certain family members can make it harder to enjoy the holidays. It’s possible that you may even have strained family relationships. This type of stress can lead to using. Instead of spending time with these relatives that will criticize your every move, surround yourself with more supportive people that will help you follow your steps in order to maintain sobriety.
Have Props Ready: If you arrive at an event, get a non-alcoholic beverage right away and keep it in your hand. Most people won’t ever really pay attention or notice what’s in the cup as long as you are holding one.
Work on Relationships: This can be a time when you can rekindle old relationships or make new ones. Instead of these times being all about using, make it about people, building relationships, and establishing real connections with others.
Pay Attention to Nutrition: While it can be okay to indulge a little bit during holidays, you don’t want to stuff yourself with too many fatty, sugar-filled foods because they can make you feel worse. Be proactive and choose healthy foods that won’t make you feel guilty but still allow you to celebrate.
Serve Others: When you focus on others, you may find more gratitude and joy. Think about different ways that you can serve others during these times. For example, you could make a family recipe and deliver food to friends. You can spend time with an elderly neighbor who is housebound or you could donate time at a food pantry. There are plenty of opportunities to spread cheer to others and you have the benefit of staying sober at the same time.
Create New Traditions: Now is the perfect time to come up with new traditions. This could mean hosting your own gathering with other friends in the same situation as you. Giving can be one of the best things you can do during this time.
Avoid Triggers: Some of the most significant triggers are emotional ones. Holidays can be some of the most stressful times. Normal routines get disrupted and people get anxious and frustrated. There can also be increased demands that lead to feelings of humiliation, guilt, shame, and more. Holidays don’t have to be perfect and you should only say yes when you feel that it won’t jeopardize your sobriety. Saying no is acceptable and may be needed.
Staying sober during holidays can be challenging but it’s possible after rehab with some tips on being mindful.