As the holiday season approaches, we’ll all be heading to more and more in-person gatherings, parties and get-togethers with friends and family – perhaps for the first time in 18 months. These events are a time of celebration and with celebrations, typically comes alcohol. Events where alcohol is present can be very challenging for those newly in recovery.
- Make a Plan
Prepare for obstacles that may arise. Many of us haven’t seen family members for a holiday get-together since before the pandemic. Before you go, work with your recovery coach, clinician, therapist and/or support systems to put a plan in place for how you’ll respond if somebody offers you a drink, what you’ll say if asked about your addiction and recovery journey, and how you’ll deal with potentially difficult family dynamics. These events bring forth a myriad of triggers, so take time to prepare yourself for all that you might face.
- Bring a Friend
Most holiday get-togethers involve your closest family, why not consider bringing a friend? An accountability buddy – someone who understands what you are going through and will be with you if triggers arise. Should you feel the urge to drink, having a friend who understands what you are going through will help you stay on course.
- Step Away
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s no harm in removing yourself from the situation entirely. Take a step outside to get some fresh air or head home. Recognizing your triggers and having the strength to remove yourself from a situation shows personal growth and a commitment to your recovery. Overcoming triggers is not easy, especially in a culture that drinks, and it is not the same for every person. As you continue to take small steps to combat them, removing yourself from difficult situations as needed will help you stay on course and continue your path to recovery.
Taking the time to speak with someone following a triggering event is a great way to prepare for the next time it arises. Consider meetings, either in person or virtual, in your local area to attend and reflect. These events are a great place to share how the event went and how it made you feel. They are a great way to connect with others who are going through a similar situation, and can be very beneficial to not only you, but your community. You never know if your story will be what someone else needs to hear.
The holidays can be overwhelming and especially stressful for those in recovery. We hope you will remember these tips as you head out and remind yourself how far you have come on your path to recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol addiction or a substance use disorder, call Spectrum Health Systems today at 1-877-MyRehab.