The common saying, “If you fail to plan, plan to fail,” applies perfectly to people in recovery, especially as they prepare to march through the holiday season. Sobriety and recovery don’t just happen; they result from intentional effort and planning. This can be a complex concept for people accustomed to living by the seat of their pants. When sailing into the rush of the holiday season without any sort of plan, people in recovery often steer into the choppy waters of temptation and relapse—making it hard to enjoy a sober holiday season. Aside from the pace, the food, and the alcohol-centered activities, there’s also the dysfunctional-family stress, travel, the circuit of gatherings, the financial strain of buying gifts, and the pressure to execute a perfect Christmas start to finish, just to name a few.
The holiday season often drives even people who are not in recovery to overdrink, overeat and indulge in any number of maladaptive coping mechanisms. Those in recovery are especially susceptible to pitfalls late in the year. The good news is there are actions people can take to help promote a sober holiday season. If you need some extra help to get or stay sober this holiday season, Recovery Ranch Tennessee can help. Our drug and alcohol detox centers help people struggling with sobriety to kick their habits and learn to live without substances. Find out more today by calling 1.844.876.7680.
How to Have a Sober Holiday Season
Trying to plan for the holidays can be overwhelming and confusing, especially for people in recovery. Keeping sobriety at the top of your priorities should be your number one goal during this festive season. Here are some tips to help you stay sober through the holidays:
Focus on Your Reasons for the Season
When holidays are seen as a time for unbridled festivity, complete with food and drink, people in recovery naturally feel deprived going into this time of year without the substances and behaviors they associate with a good time. Recovery doesn’t begrudge fun and enjoyment, but the deeper meanings behind these holidays might change how people choose to observe them. Maybe it means taking these days to focus on gratitude and to express thanks to a higher power, family, and friends for blessings.
It’s easy to get pulled into the rush and lose track of yourself, speeding around to get that last gift before heading across town to a party while trying to prepare for out-of-town guests. If you’re new to recovery, and even if you’re not, the frenzy can set you up for a slip. When you look at the five weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, you have to have a plan, which usually means scaling back. Maybe outsource some of the cooking to relatives, a local bakery, or a deli. Perhaps simplify gift-giving or order everything online to avoid the shopping mall craziness. Scaling back could mean you attend only one Christmas party in a weekend rather than the two or three you’ve been invited to.
Don’t Put Your Program on Hold
When you’re in a rush, you may tend to eliminate anything that doesn’t feel immediate or urgent. It’s your group meeting night, but it’s cold, and you have mountains of presents to wrap. Will anyone notice if you’re not there? It’s tempting to skip the meeting or to cut corners with your program practices until you get through the holidays. But in doing so, you fail to consider that it may mean you don’t make it through the holidays sober. Your program work and participation at meetings are more urgent now than ever. You may get all the presents wrapped and host the perfect dinner, but if you relapse, will it have mattered if you relapse?
Reach Out for Help
The holiday season can mean a lot of time with family. If your family is less than functional, you can feel lonely and even attacked as you try to stay sober. Reaching out to program friends, sponsors, or sober family members can be the antidote. You need the support of people who understand your challenges and are committed to seeing us stay sober—helping provide wisdom and friendship during high-stress moments.
Get the phone numbers of people who will be in town and are open to receiving phone calls during the holidays. Then pick up the phone and get the support you need. Be ready to provide support to others as well. If you anticipate pitfalls and challenges, start talking about them now—discuss the resentments and the established family patterns that tend to cause stress. Working through the issues before the event can help you get the support and suggestions that will make the actual day bearable and joyful.
Find Extra Help at Recovery Ranch Tennessee
If you are struggling to make a plan for this holiday season, Recovery Ranch TN can help. With the help of our compassionate staff, we can help you develop a plan to stay in recovery. We can also help you take steps toward a sober future with:
- Onsite detox – We offer clinically supervised detox programs to help people manage their withdrawal symptoms, giving them a healthier path forward.
- Residential treatment – Our residential program helps people gain the skills to stay sober for the long term, so they can continue to make progress in their recovery.
- Dual diagnosis treatment – Our team is trained to identify underlying mental health issues and offer evidence-based treatment tailored to the individual’s needs.
- Aftercare – We provide comprehensive aftercare services, including 12-step programming, intensive outpatient treatment, and sober living arrangements.