Welcome to the holidays, a time when families get together, old friendships are rekindled, and cheer and love abound. For you, if you are dealing with an addiction, the holidays will be a different story this year. The toughest part of dealing with addiction over the holidays is the loneliness you will feel, because you can’t have the same connection with others that you have had in years past. You will still have to deal with stress and the pressure of the season. You will be faced with the scrutiny of others who are watching you to see how you handle yourself this year. All of these things can make you feel alone. But you are not alone, and by simply planning ahead, you can enjoy this holiday season just as much as in the past.
Rebuild Family Relationships. The holidays are traditionally a time to spend with family and loved ones. If you’ve been hurt by loved ones or hurt them by your addiction, you likely feel disconnected from your family. If this is the case, admit it and prepare to do something about it rather than deny there is any conflict there at all. Instead of going to holiday functions with a defensive attitude or looking for trouble, understand that you have had problems with certain family members in the past. Then, spend your time with family trying to make small steps toward rebuilding relationships. Don’t talk about hot button topics, and don’t bring up the past. Right now you should focus on talking about the weather, or the beautiful Christmas decorations, or things that won’t lead to an argument. And certainly limit the time you spend with loved ones that stress you out, in order to keep your sanity this year.
Say Goodbye to the Old Lifestyle. If you are recovering from an addiction, you have probably spent your fair share of time drunk or high. In the past, holiday parties for you meant getting wasted, either for the fun of it or to deal with stress and anxiety. You are a new person now. You don’t need to take part in those old bad habits anymore. It will be difficult, and it might mean you have to avoid some get-togethers with friends that would lead to trouble. But it is worth it. This year, don’t focus on what you are missing out on, but what you are gaining by staying sober. Keep your recovery in front of you, so that you are reminded why you are willing to give the negative things up.
Find Supportive Friends. True, you might not be able to spend time with certain people this holiday season, either because of the stress they add to your life or the temptation they pose for you to use again. But this doesn’t mean you can’t be surrounded by caring, loving people. This holiday season, find the supportive people who want to see you succeed in your recovery. Find a support group, get involved with an alumni program at your treatment center, or enlist the help of some solid friends to help encourage you when you feel low. By surrounding yourself with positive influences, you will enjoy your holidays much more and will be able to avoid relapse.
The holidays are challenging for those struggling with addiction and recovery, but you can make it through. By understanding your own limitations and by being prepared, you can enjoy this season while remaining true to your recovery.
If you need help this holiday season, don’t hesitate to contact us. My Recovery Helper connects individuals and families with treatment programs that make a real difference in their lives. Call us at (844) 867-6835 today to learn more.