Christmas and the holiday season are a wonderful time of year for many reasons, but it can also be a challenging time for some. Between holiday stress, family, old friends, and new triggers, Christmas can be trying when you only recently went through or are still in addiction treatment. Especially your first Christmas in addiction recovery when you are still learning to navigate sober living, this time of year can be filled with relapse triggers that can be overwhelming.
How to Stay Sober at Christmas
Don’t let your first Christmas sober also be your last. These tips on managing your first Christmas in recovery can help you enjoy the holiday while keeping your sobriety out of harm’s way.
If this is your first sober Christmas, you have a lot to be proud of. Take the time to think back to other holidays while you were still in active addiction and compare them with this Christmas. Chances are you have come a long way and have a lot to be thankful for. Taking time to reflect on your progress can also remind you of why you got sober in the first place and keep you motivated to keep going when times get tough.
Create a Good Environment
Trying to stay sober your first Christmas in recovery is a lot harder when you are surrounded by relapse triggers. This year, make sure you avoid people who do not support your recovery efforts or social gatherings where alcohol and drugs are everywhere. When you place yourself in a safe and comfortable environment, you are setting yourself up for success.
Take Time Alone if You Need to
Your relationship with your family may still be a bit rocky even after family addiction counseling. Because of this dynamic, an extended amount of time with them may be draining and leave you experiencing drug or alcohol cravings. Although the holidays are about spending time with loved ones, your sobriety should come first. Make sure you take time for yourself if you start to feel overwhelmed. You may also want to consider staying at a hotel instead of at home if you will be there for several days.
This may be the first time you are coming face-to-face with some people since getting sober. If you hurt them while in active addiction, this in-person meeting gives you a good opportunity to apologize. Not everyone will be so forgiving, so if they are not willing to accept your apology, move forward without making a scene. They may need to see how you have changed first before they decide to forgive you.
Lean on Your Support System
Staying sober over Christmas may be about finding the right support system. Especially when times get tough, you should not have to go through the holidays in recovery alone. Speak to a trusted friend or family member when you are struggling, reach out to your sponsor or peers in recovery when you need to talk, or get virtual addiction treatment if you need more support.
Your first Christmas in recovery is a big accomplishment that should be celebrated, but it may also be more triggering than normal. At Vertava Health, we want to help make your holiday sobriety last well into the new year. If you falter along the way or are looking for added support, we are here. Contact us today to learn more.