6 Holiday Solutions For Recovering Loved Ones
The holiday season is particularly challenging for recovering addicts. Every pub or home is brimming with joyous celebrations, and that means social gatherings and an influx of alcohol. It is almost as if alcohol is a staple during the season since it can be found in every holiday party, from office gatherings to intimate house parties.
As a recovering addict, it may be difficult to navigate the season. It is even more troublesome to isolate oneself from all the merrymaking as this can lead to negative feelings of isolation and depression. The best one can do is to find a way to stay sober during these gatherings.
However, this does not apply to all recovering addicts. Addiction recovery comes in varying stages. People who are fresh out of rehab are discouraged to attend gatherings with alcohol, especially without an accountability buddy. Long-term recovered patients could attend but may still need some help in maintaining sobriety.
Tips For Staying Sober During The Holidays
1. H. A. L. T. Rule
The recovering patients’ community has a technical term called H. A. L. T. This acronym stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. These are emotions that can serve as guidelines to keep you in check. Solving these emotions will help with your sobriety.
Hungry – It is very important to eat regular meals. Do not forget to eat despite the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Eating regularly helps keep your sugar levels stable. This will eliminate feelings of hunger and thirst which are often confused as a drug or alcohol craving.
Angry – It is crucial to stay calm and avoid being angry. You may avoid anger or irritability by applying the stress and anger management techniques you may have learned from rehab. You should also use the holidays to get a rush of endorphins so that you will stay happy.
Lonely – Remember that you are not alone on your healing journey. Create a list of the people who love and support you. The list may include friends, family, your sponsor, or even AA or NA members. Whenever you feel like you are alone, you can simply call one of them for some reassurance. These people are there for you.
Tired – This is a reminder to take care of yourself so that you won’t get tired. Make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night so that you will have enough energy for the holiday festivities. Feeling cranky due to exhaustion may cause you to spiral into unhealthy habits.
2. Create New Traditions
You do not have to miss out on the holiday fun just because you cannot participate in the partying. You can always create new traditions which can be something to look forward to each year. You may go ice skating, decorate your tree, make homemade gift wrappers for presents, or bake and decorate pastries. These festive activities will make you feel optimistic and will take your mind off of your cravings.
3. Plan And Fulfill Your Holiday Obligations
Let go of the misconception that you need to attend every single holiday event during the season. You should prioritize your wellness and only take things into stride. Do not feel pressured to RSVP to every invitation. There is also no need to over explain your side as your friends and loved ones would understand.
Going through a string of holiday parties can feel emotionally draining and physically exhausting. Pace yourself and space out the holiday parties you can attend. And when you do, make sure to bring a trusted friend or loved one to keep you company. It also helps to bring your own car so that you drive yourself home if you need a quick getaway.
4. Have An Exit Strategy
It helps to have an exit strategy that serves as a backup plan for when you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation. Aside from a comprehensive plan, you need to learn how to be comfortable with saying “no.” This helps you establish boundaries so that you won’t be forced to participate in things you find uncomfortable.
There are different ways to exit an event. You may slip out quietly when you feel uncomfortable. There is no need to say goodbye and you don’t necessarily owe anyone an explanation because your recovery should always be the priority. Another option is to identify a specific reason which will cause you to leave early for the night. It could be to go home to your dog, to pick up your kid from the babysitter, or an early morning the next day. With that, you can just leave whenever you wish.
Another thing is to put out a disclaimer that you will be unable to stay long which makes it acceptable for you to leave at any given moment. Lastly, plan with your partner or companion. Inform them of your preference to leave early so that the two of you will be on the same page.
5. Stay Grateful
Gratitude plays a huge role in continued recovery. This enforces a positive mindset that will prevent you from relapsing. You can practice gratitude by gratitude journaling or enforcing a grateful mindset each day. Incorporating gratefulness in your daily life makes it easier to uphold regularly. It will allow you to appreciate the holidays and see that it is the season of love, not sorrow.
6. Attend Your Meetings
Make sure to consistently attend your meetings for recovery. You may have to increase your attendance if you feel like it is a sensitive and vulnerable season for you. If you have travel plans, make sure to scout your travel destination and check if they offer meetings there.
It also helps to stay connected to the rest of your group by forming an accountability group chat or downloading a sober app.
If you are still having troubles with recovery during the holidays, do not hesitate to contact R&R Recovery for further assistance.