4 Ways To Make Holidays In Recovery Easy
Holidays in recovery can be challenging if you’re not prepared. There is much to worry about; whether it be the relatives that drink or the lack of finances to spend on gifts, or anything else. However, with a few simple steps, this can be enjoyable and stress-free. Here are four ways to prepare.
1. Know Your Triggers
As your planning for the holidays stop for a second and take a quick inventory. What are some situations that you see that could be difficult to remain sober? Once you have identified where you are in your recovery today, plan accordingly. As your planning, remember that your recovery is the most critical thing in your life. If you need to avoid an event to be okay, don’t feel bad. It’s your life, take ownership.
2. Healthy Boundaries are… Healthy
Don’t be afraid to set some boundaries with people or in your own life. Having blurry boundaries and not knowing where to draw them kept us sick. Let’s not go back down that road. Sometimes fixing a situation is as easy as setting a boundary or having an awkward conversation. It’s our job to know ourselves; it’s not everyone else’s. People sometimes do not see that they are causing an issue. Our recovery doesn’t mean that we can walk around telling everyone how to live just because we are going to be in the room, but having a healthy, respectful conversation will most often solve the problem. If it doesn’t, don’t take it personally. If boundaries are not respected, you can easily leave. Having that conversation ahead of time makes it easier to dismiss yourself because the boundary is already there and clear.
3. Sometimes You’re Not Ready, and That’s Okay
Listen, I know how unhealthy situations can be around family. Unfortunately, the family can often be the worst place to be for a person in recovery. I have people in my family that I still know that I can’t be around as much as I would like. We have to make decisions for our health. Sometimes the best option might be to celebrate with another family. The decision to not see family is hard and will not be an easy decision to make, but it might save your life. If your family has not grown as much as you have in their recovery then know that it is ok to not go there for the holidays. Celebrate your recovery and the holidays elsewhere and pray that one year in the future it will be different. Who knows, your choice to protect your recovery might be what shows your family that recovery is possible and that it’s what they want too.
4. Use Your Support
People in recovery know that recovery doesn’t stop on holidays. I know I have answered the phone on holidays and even met people to talk, it didn’t bother me at all, and others have done the same for me. Use your support. Pick the phone up and make that call if you’re struggling. Many people don’t understand why something small to them is bothering you so much. People in recovery do. That’s the beauty of a community of people that share experiences, strength, and hope. Use them!
Addiction can place scars in many things and holidays don’t avoid this truth. However, new experiences create new memories. It’s time to start to repair and heal. Don’t let something derail your life that could’ve been avoided with a little planning. Always remember that you alone have ownership of your life and your decisions. Do not feel sorry for choosing to protect yourself and your sobriety. The holidays are exciting, and you’re sober. That’s a huge deal! I hope you make new memories and enjoy every second. You’re worth it. Happy Holidays!
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, contact an addiction specialist at 606.638.0938 or use our confidential chat function at www.arccenters.com. We are available 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Hope and help are just a phone call away.–
Jonathan Hughes, MA, CNP
Kentucky Peer Support Specialist
Addiction Recovery Care
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