By Haley Kennedy, Recovery Coach – 12.04.2020 —
The season between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is often considered as “the most wonderful time of the year.” But for some of us in recovery it can feel like the complete opposite. Most of us have worked hard to restructure our lives in support of our recovery and the holidays can be disruptive for several reasons. We may have to make changes to our daily routines to accommodate Holiday preparations and gatherings which means we might miss meetings or have difficulty finding time to exercise and relax. Holiday parties can often have alcohol accessible and there may be people enjoying it around you. The holidays might reopen unresolved wounds and bring on the “holiday blues.” Or there could be a disruption in your treatment due to the difficulty of getting a timely appointment or returned phone call from your provider.
We cannot control temptation, but we can control our response to it. When we commit to staying the course, we give ourselves the best gift possible: Recovery. These are some of the benefits we reap from choosing recovery and abstaining from substances not just during the holidays, but every single day.
- Make it a Holiday to Remember
How many holidays can you actually remember? The increased using or drinking throughout this time of year makes it easier to go overboard, or black out. Deciding not to drink or use allows you the opportunity to collect special memories.
- No Embarrassing Behavior
Drinking and using can bring out our “wild sides” and influence embarrassing behavior we would never do sober. By making choices we feel good about, we save ourselves the consequence of being disappointed in ourselves. Your future self will thank you for celebrating your dignity and maintaining your control.
- No Hangover
It seems counterproductive to celebrate so hard with alcohol or substances, that you might pay for it the next day with a nasty hangover or comedown. Skip the drugs and alcohol and treat yourself to something fun the next day instead.
- Connect with People
When we remove the alcohol and substances, we gain the mental capacity to have thoughtful and meaningful conversations with others. This is a beautiful opportunity to build, or re-build broken relationships and allow others to get to know the real you.
- No DUI
Holiday season is the peak season for DUIs. If you don’t put yourself in that position in the first place, then you won’t become a statistic. But if you find yourself intoxicated, do not get behind the wheel, call for help. You can call “Be My DD”, where a driver will take you home in your own vehicle, 24/7 at 1-877-823-6933.
- Positive Role model
Children might be surrounded by adults who are celebrating and in the “party spirit” which gifts you the opportunity to be a positive influence by showing them what it looks like to have fun without drugs or alcohol.
And last, but certainly not least,
- A Healthy Start to a New Year
A lot of us are nurturing and healing our bodies after years of damage. The holidays are not a reason to take a break from self-care. Not using or drinking allows us to start the new year off strong.