Preserving Our Sobriety During the Holidays
If we were to believe all the carols, movies, and social media posts, the holidays are an unrelenting stream of joy, goodwill, and peace.
We live in the real world. While parts of our holiday seasons may be happy, parts may be awkward or tough.
That could be especially true if we’re sober. The holiday season could include:
- Parties that serve alcohol or drugs.
- Relatives, other people, or circumstances that could create stress.
- Worries about hosting and preparing for celebrations.
- Financial concerns about paying for gifts and activities.
Facing any of these stressors can trigger alcohol or drug use and cause a relapse. There’s a good chance we might face more than one.
Fortunately, there are also ways we can nurture our sobriety. We can do this by:
Understanding where we are
Taking a mental self-examination may help. Are we happy? Depressed? Anxious? Understanding what we’re feeling can help us examine why we’re feeling it and whether we might want to take additional action.
Reminding ourselves the truth
Those social media posts of smiling families sitting in front of roaring fireplaces? Don’t let them depress you. As cheery as those families look in those pictures, they also have problems. Remember that social media gives us a distorted view of things, not the reality of every situation.
Staying in our programs
Many people join sobriety support groups during rehab treatment or afterward. The groups can hold people accountable for their actions and provide much-needed support during the holiday season and beyond.
Keeping in touch
Speaking of social support, meeting with, calling, or texting people can reduce feelings of isolation that could contribute to depression and substance abuse. Connection can provide reassurance, reminding us that we’re not alone and that other people are willing to listen.
Not everyone has our best interests at heart, though. We’re allowed to separate ourselves from unsupportive people who undermine our sobriety. If we can’t distance ourselves entirely, we can limit our contact and ask others for support during and after these interactions.
Standing up for ourselves
Remember that we don’t have to explain ourselves. If people insist that we drink alcohol or add one more thing to our busy schedules, we can politely decline. Remember that saying, “No, thank you,” is enough.
Asking for help
No man or woman is an island. We need help to thrive. That could include hosting potluck get-togethers instead of cooking every dish at every party ourselves. That could also include contacting an addiction treatment center or program if we’ve relapsed.
Despite what we hear during the holidays, we don’t need to be constantly merry, joyful, or any of that. We do need to be the healthiest version of ourselves, so please take care of yourselves and have a safe and healthy holiday season.
dhs.gov – Managing Holiday Stress
greatergood.berkeley.edu – Can Connection Cure Addiction?
womenshealth.gov – Say “No” to Holiday Stress
sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Treatment Centers
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