Category: Personal Development Written by Regina Thomas Views: 788
The holiday season is well underway and will only get busier with time. For people who have gone through recovery or are still in the early stages of sobriety, this season can be exhausting because of the extra pressure to drink.
But you can do a few things to ensure this holiday season is as healthy as possible. This will help ensure you don't fall back into old habits while keeping things stress-free. Understanding how you react to stress and your actions when you feel like the pressure is causing trouble will significantly help. Here are eight tips for keeping your sobriety on track during the holidays:
1. Make a Plan
When preparing for the holiday season, plan how to handle each holiday event. For example, if you know there will be an open bar at your work's holiday party, think about ways to reduce your anxiety about the event. For example, simply having a friend or family member make sure you don't have to drink could help you. You could also plan activities around your work party, such as going to a movie or visiting another business that is not hosting an open bar.
2. Set Limits
Thinking about how much you can drink will help reduce your anxiety about the situation and make it easier for you to cope. This also helps your mind focus more on the problem than on your past behavior. You may even be able to change your behavior to avoid the anxiety altogether. Setting a high enough limit will help you enjoy the holiday season without falling back into old habits and triggers.
3. Break the Cycle
After a painful loss, people typically drink to help them forget their troubles. But even if you don't have a recent loss, mental health experts recommend that you learn how to overcome the drinking cycle before it returns. For example, if you've had a lot of drinks in a short period and then totally abstained for two days, this will help you break the cycle before it starts again.
4. Stay Connected
Staying connected with friends, family, and loved ones can help make the holidays easier. If you don't feel like talking to them or want to give up on having a holiday season, being sober and aware of what's going on can help you make it through the season. You may be able to avoid getting so drunk that you make bad decisions about your sobriety or relationship.
5. Identify Your Triggers
Another big thing you will need to do is identify your triggers. These situations, thoughts, and feelings lead to your addiction. For example, if being in social gatherings involving alcohol leads you to drink more than usual, you need to identify what this is to avoid it. Additionally, you might want to avoid isolating yourself or going to places where the triggers are more likely to occur.
6. Develop New Activities
If you feel like you have nothing to do when this time of year rolls around, it's because you've developed unhealthy habits. You may think that your life is boring, or you may want something to do other than substance use at home alone. Developing new activities and hobbies that don't involve drinking will help you avoid old habits and thoughts. For example, you can consider finding a new group of friends who are less interested in drinking during the holidays.
7. Get Professional Help
It's never a bad idea to ask for help from a therapist or addiction specialist. They can be invaluable, especially if you have developed resistance to the actions, you've yet to take to avoid drinking. The holidays are stressful for everyone, but they can be incredibly stressful for those who are still trying to avoid substance abuse and improve their life.
If you've not been able to get through the holidays in the past without getting drunk, it may be a sign that you need more help than usual. Addiction treatment therapy involves various effective techniques to help you learn how to deal with the stress you experience during the holidays. Consider speaking with someone who deals with addiction regularly, such as an addiction therapist or group counselor.
8. Stay Positive
If you look at the holidays positively, you're likely to have a better time. For example, having supportive people in your life and a good job can help give you something to focus on instead of substance abuse. Also, if your experience with past holidays has yet to be positive, think about how you can change that this year. For example, you can plan new things or avoid old situations that lead to past problems.
The holiday season can be stressful for everyone, especially those struggling with sobriety. If you have been unsure how to make this time of the year easier, consider the ideas and strategies outlined above. Having a plan will help you deal with your triggers and avoid drinking.
This article was submitted exclusively to CrystalWind.ca by Regina Thomas.
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