It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us once again. Hopefully, you’ve experienced maintaining recovery during these challenging times. It’s not a secret that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve can derail a person’s program. However, it’s possible to see the other side of the end of the year — without picking up alcohol or drugs.
If you do not have experience navigating the holidays clean and sober, then it probably means that you are in your first year of recovery. As such, you likely have trepidations about the days ahead.
Most people with a history of addiction realize that the holiday season – for a number of reasons — was a time of heightened intoxication. Alcohol and substance use disorders tend to estrange men and women from their families, which means that the holidays were a lonely time. Loneliness and isolation tend to make people want to drink and drug more in order to escape their feelings.
Now that you are in recovery, you have to find ways to keep your emotions in check and not let them derail your program. Even though you are clean and sober, it does not mean that your family is back in your life. For some people, that may be the case, but it may not be for you yet. Still, you have within you the power to keep your program intact sans family.
If you stick to your regular recovery routine, then you are more than able to keep on the path toward achieving your long-term goals. One of those goals may be re-establishing a relationship with your loved ones.
A Safe and Sober Thanksgiving in Recovery
Holidays like Thanksgiving can elicit many unwanted emotions for men and women in early recovery. This is supposed to be a time of giving thanks for all that is good in your life, recovery included, but it can be challenging to be grateful when you still do not have certain things in your life.
Recovery is a process; it takes time to right the wrongs brought about from years of alcohol and substance use. Coping with one’s emotions in healthy ways is more comfortable now that you’re clean and sober, but that does not mean you are immune from acting in ways that are counter to recovery.
Family in your life or not, it’s essential to put your recovery first on Thanksgiving, just as you would any other day of the year. Do your best to treat the holiday like you would today, and you will find that you can maintain your recovery.
Make sure that you attend your ordinary meetings a week from today; it’s not wise to deviate from your established recovery routine. You may find that you require more than one meeting on Thanksgiving. Fortunately, meetings take place around the clock on major holidays for that very reason.
The helping hand of recovery (i.e., your support group and sponsor) is always there for you to lean on during challenging times. Utilize the tools you learned in treatment and at meetings, avoid the desire to isolate; and, ask your sober peers if you can join them before or after the meeting. A member of your support network is likely hosting a turkey dinner next Thursday; chances are there is an invitation with your name on it.
Recovery Home and Away
Those who happen to be traveling have a whole week to plan out which meetings they will attend while out of town. Attending meetings of recovery in different states, cities, and towns can be both interesting and fun. While the Steps are identical wherever you go, the way meetings are conducted could be vastly different from what you are used to back home.
Whether you are going to be home or away, you must remain in regular contact with your sponsor and recovery peers. Doing so will help you stay accountable and could help prevent you from doing something that could jeopardize all your hard work.
At Pacific Shores Recovery Center, we would like to wish everyone in recovery a safe and sober Thanksgiving. If you are one of our alumni, never hesitate to reach out to us if you encounter problems next week. We understand that the holidays are stressful. Please know that we are always here for you, day and night.