The holiday season is finally upon us, bringing the end of a very hard year. Typically, this holiday season would be filled with events and gatherings — and for some, celebration means alcohol or drugs. If you struggle with substance abuse, you may be aware that the holidays already make it more difficult to stay sober, but the isolation and loneliness paired with the pandemic may make this holiday season the most trying yet. No matter what state the nation is in, Acqua Recovery is here to help you or your loved one with their journey to recovery. Here are 10 tips to help you stay clean and sober during this especially hard holiday season:
1. Create a List of Sober Holiday Activities
As the holiday season approaches, begin to make a list of holiday delights that don’t involve alcohol or drugs (getting a holiday Starbucks drink or driving around to look at holiday lights, for example). Find the inner kid in you by making and executing a list of sober holiday activities that bring the spark to your holiday season. If holidays are filled with bad memories, you’re not alone. Maybe you’ve spent years using alcohol in an attempt to numb the years of pain and trauma that in fact have been fueling your addiction. In recovery, you get a chance to create new memories of happiness, love, and joy. That’s what recovery’s all about.
2. Create New Sober & COVID-friendly Holiday Traditions
Many individuals struggling with substance abuse have made their holiday traditions revolve around alcohol or drugs. Since this year will be different for everyone due to the pandemic, why not take advantage of the situation and brainstorm new sober and COVID-friendly holiday traditions? Have a virtual holiday game-night or a Zoom call with your family during Christmas dinner or dessert. Starting a new sober holiday tradition will help you look forward to every holiday season to come!
3. Relapse Prevention Techniques
A helpful way to stay sober during the holiday season is to learn or refresh yourself on relapse prevention techniques. At Acqua Recovery, we utilize relapse prevention therapy groups, along with a combination of other addiction treatment modalities, to set our clients up for success in living a happy life in recovery. Read a book on relapse prevention or give us a call! We’re more than happy to provide suggestions for other relapse prevention techniques and coping mechanisms.
4.Set Boundaries for Yourself to Prevent Relapse
At Acqua Recovery, our masters-level clinicians may suggest boundary setting as a relapse prevention technique. Maybe spending holidays with certain relatives triggers PTSD related to childhood trauma, bringing on desires to drink. Instead of feeling guilt-tripped by the obligation to spend weeks with your family, create healthy boundaries for yourself. Tell yourself you will only spend as much time as you feel comfortable to keep yourself in a healthy mental state and away from desires of drinking. In the beginning, that could be just one day or even just a few hours — or not at all! Do what you need to put your recovery first.
5. Stress Relief & Self Care During the Holidays
A strong relapse prevention technique that we stress the importance of, at Acqua Recovery, is self-care. When we forget about taking care of ourselves, we lose our everyday commitment to recovery and risk drinking or using to “get away from it all.” From the holiday hustle and bustle to the seasonal obligations that come with the holidays, self-care is the key. Take a step back and allow time for personal healing. Self-care can be anything from spending some quality time with yourself while sipping hot chocolate to seeking addiction treatment to get your life back on track. Give our caring admissions team a call to find out how you can experience self-care while sitting by a fire and looking over our glistening lake.
6. Travel Safely During the Season
This holiday season, if you are traveling to spend time with loved ones, make sure to travel safely to prevent the risk of COVID-19 — and the risk of relapse. While protecting yourself from the pandemic with masks and social distancing, protect yourself from relapse by bringing sober literature with you to your destination. You can also bring a physical reminder, such as an affirmation coin, to keep as a close reminder of living in recovery. Or, bring your entire fellowship support system by doing Zoom meetings from abroad! No matter what you do, keep your recovery close and you won’t lose track of it.
7. Give Back to Your Community
With the holidays comes time off from work. Isolation can be triggering on its own, but add in the restrictions of the pandemic and you’ve got a risk of relapse. A solution? Fill your idle time with volunteering! Get into the altruistic spirit of the holidays and sobriety by giving back to the community. Food pantries and homeless shelters need help now more than ever, and you’ll help build your self esteem while you’re at it.
8. Find a Sober Support Group
Another helpful way to stay sober during the holidays is by joining a substance abuse support group. You can find an emotional outlet as well as inspiration for living a life in recovery through AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), NA (Narcotics Anonymous), and many other alternative groups. Don’t know where to start finding a support group you’d like? Give us a call! We can help find the best meeting around you — even if it’s not AA or NA.
9. Stay Connected Virtually During the Holidays
Even if you don’t feel comfortable traveling to spend the holidays with loved ones or attending a support group in person due to the pandemic, you can use today’s technology to stay connected. Make it a goal during the holiday season to check in virtually with a clean and sober friend, a colleague, or a family member every day. Most addiction support groups now have virtual meetings you can attend, too! Staying connected decreases the risk of relapse during the holidays.
10. Get Addiction Help Sooner Rather Than Later
Finally, don’t wait until after the holidays to seek addiction treatment. Substance abuse is a never-ending downward spiral, but professional medical treatment will put an end to it. If you relapse, don’t be ashamed to get help again. Reach out to Acqua Recovery today to start your new life. For more information on getting help sooner rather than later, click here.
Addiction is possible to overcome — with the right help. At Acqua Recovery, we use a dual-diagnosis approach to treat the years of trauma fueling your or your loved one’s addiction. By learning healthy coping mechanisms and relapse prevention techniques, you can begin to reconnect with yourself and renew your life through recovery. Begin your healing today and speak with one of our caring admissions counselors, Matt, Brian, or Ashlee. They can provide you with more tips for staying sober during the holidays and ways you can afford a residential addiction treatment program. Reach out to us today and spend your holidays in a sanctuary of hope.