Substance abuse disorders and alcoholism can destroy your relationships, damage your health, and prevent you from working. Substance abuse disorders are chronic mental health diseases, meaning that you must manage your symptoms throughout your lifetime. You can deal with cravings throughout all stages of your recovery, which can make holidays especially tricky. If you are struggling to find ways to celebrate sober holidays, you are far from alone. As many as 10% of all adults in the United States are in active recovery from a substance abuse disorder or alcoholism.
Since alcohol and drugs are routinely associated with holiday parties, finding ways to enjoy the holidays while protecting your recovery can seem daunting. Build the right skills for dealing with holiday triggers with addiction therapy services in Utah.
Cravings, Triggers, and the Holidays
Addiction and substance abuse disorders cause changes to your brain chemistry. Since drugs and alcohol are neurotransmitter inhibitors and cause your brain to release a rush of pleasurable neurotransmitters, your brain’s pleasure, and reward center changes during addiction. When your mind associates your substance of choice with joy, your brain begins positively reinforcing your substance use. Triggers, which can be people, places, or things that remind you of your substance of choice, cause intense cravings, making it hard to stop using.
Negative emotions, like stress, anxiety, and depression, can also serve as a trigger. During holidays, you can encounter more triggers than usual, which can make it hard to navigate sober holidays without a plan. Many holidays include celebrations and alcohol, which can make it challenging to find fun ways to enjoy the holidays while protecting your recovery.
Another vital part of recovery is finding practical coping skills, which helps you avoid relapses. Learn practical coping skills during a holistic therapy program in Utah. Some basic coping skills include:
- Working out
- Listening to music
- Deep breathing and meditation
- Writing or drawing
- Watching television
How to Celebrate Sober Holidays
When the holidays approach, managing your recovery can sometimes feel like a challenge. Planning sober holidays is a great way to ensure that you can celebrate special occasions without endangering your sobriety. If you celebrate most of your holidays with family members, consider discussing your recovery needs with them and asking them to host dry, alcohol-free gatherings.
Many communities host free events during the alcohol-free holidays, which can be a great way to socialize and celebrate sober holidays. If you have other friends or family members in recovery or belong to a recovery therapy group in Utah, consider making dry holiday plans with them.
Avoiding bars is another crucial way to remain sober on the holidays, even if you have close friends or family meeting at a bar for the holidays. If holidays are a trigger for you, consider talking with your counselor or support network to develop a plan to enjoy sober holidays.
Finding Sober Holiday Help Today
While holidays are a great time to relax and catch-up with friends and loved ones, sober holidays can be tough if you are in recovery. The popularity of alcohol at holiday parties can sometimes make it hard to avoid relapsing during the holidays. If you would like to find out more about sober holidays or have questions about our addiction treatment programs in Utah, call us today at 866.830.4628.