Thanksgiving is behind us, something for which those dealing with alcoholism or addiction may truly be thankful.
It may have been a long weekend of dealing with family dynamics and the assorted difficult relationships we’ve successfully avoided since the last gathering of the clan. For people in recovery, just getting through the turkey-and-stuffing festivities and attendant relationship anxieties without falling into relapse often requires nerves of steel and heroic effort.
And now with Thanksgiving behind us, we’re faced with the even greater challenge of the month-long run up to Christmas and New Year’s. This annual five week period is the time of year when the liquor industry makes more than a quarter of annual profits, when more people die in alcohol-related traffic accidents, and when binge drinking and recreational drug use become de rigeur at many holiday parties. The expectation that everyone will join in on every impromptu alcoholic toast to The New Year presents a particularly difficult challenge to those committed to their daily sobriety.
For some people, of course, the pressures to drink or relapse into drug use during the Holidays comes not from the increased social pressures swirling around them, but from the quite the opposite. Feelings of social isolation or loneliness are often brought into sharp focus when everyone else seems to be enjoying family, friends, and constant festivities. For those who are alcohol or drug dependent and struggling to maintain sobriety, this is hardly a season of joy, and eleven months (or longer) of self-discipline can suddenly dissolve under the stresses brought upon by the Holiday Season.
If you’re on the road to wellness and committed to your sobriety, here are a few tactics to make it easier on yourself during the Holidays:
- If certain family members are a source of anxiety—for whatever reason, and any reason you have is a valid reason—and bring you stress, pain, or the urge to drink or use, you owe it to yourself to make any excuse to be avoid contact with them. Instead of accepting the annual invitation to join the “big family get-together,” pull together a few trusted friends and have your own pain-free celebration. Declining that invitation from Mom might be awkward for a moment, but the benefits to you and your sobriety in avoiding toxic people will be well worth a moment of maternal guilt-tripping.
The Holidays are a wonderful time to reconnect with others and with yourself. With all the temptations of a festive season and a culture where cocktails and recreational drugs abound, it’s also a great opportunity to demonstrate the value of your commitment to yourself and your wellness.
The team at Recovery Road Medical Center sends very best Holiday wishes for your health, happiness, and the joys of sobriety in The New Year and beyond.