Christmas is now six days from today; have you started making plans for your holiday in recovery? If not, then please begin your preparations today; you do not want to find yourself in a situation that can cancel out all the hard work you’ve put in thus far.
At Pacific Shores, we realize that not everyone celebrates Christmas. Even still, just because the impending holiday holds little significance does not mean there aren’t pitfalls that can jeopardize your sobriety.
The holiday season is an admixture of merriment and stress. Many Americans party to excess during this time of year, and that may be fine for those who do not have unhealthy relationships with alcohol. The excessive drinking typical of holidays is partly a byproduct of an unusual amount of parties taking place across the country.
Places of work, for instance, will throw events for their employees that include copious amounts of alcohol. People in recovery must be cautious about attending Christmas work parties. Most of your coworkers are unaware that you are working a program, probably. Your recovery, after all, is your business; you have the right to share your abstinent lifestyle with who you please, and you may not be comfortable sharing that aspect of your life for a myriad of reasons.
Aside from work, friends and neighbors also host parties leading up to the celebration next Wednesday. Perhaps you have been invited to attend? If that is the case, then please think long and hard about the pros and cons of attending, particularly if you’re still new to recovery. It’s generally a good practice to avoid situations that can put your sobriety at risk, and holiday parties certainly meet the criteria of risky situations.
Having a Recovery Plan for Christmas
Each person’s recovery is their own; everyone has the right to decide what they’d like to do during select days of the year. Hopefully, you will resist the temptation to test the strength of your recovery in the coming days. Placing yourself around alcohol and drunk people can prove to be too much to handle for men and women in early recovery.
With that in mind, please do not form the opinion that you must shut yourself in if you’d like to avoid relapse. It is possible to celebrate Christmas, have a merry time, and keep your sobriety intact. Although achieving the goal mentioned above will require some planning. Be diligent about formulating a schedule for the coming days; know what you will be doing and where you will be on December 25th ahead of time.
In recovery, you cannot leave anything to chance. The disease of addiction preys on those who do not stick to their routine—people who open themselves up for a relapse. Alternatively, individuals who take the time now to plan out what they will be doing in the days to come are better able to cope with triggers and resist the temptation to use drugs and alcohol.
Hopefully, you already know what you will be doing on both Christmas Eve and the holiday that follows. Your plan should include attending your usual meetings, staying close to your support network, and seizing opportunities to be of service. Putting your recovery first and staying busy is a surefire way to avoid relapse.
If Your Attendance is Unavoidable
What’s more, men and women in early recovery should also steer clear of holiday gatherings where people are getting inebriated. Being around drunk people will do your program little service. If you feel that you must attend an event, such as a family gathering, then bring a trusted peer in the program with you.
If it is not possible to have a friend accompany you because you are traveling or otherwise, then show up to the party early and leave early. Have an escape plan, i.e., have means of transportation that will allow you to go and get to a meeting. Those who put their recovery first and have a plan in place are better able to skirt the pitfalls of the holiday season.
Please talk to your sponsor about how they manage the Christmas season without picking up a drink or drug. They will provide you with invaluable advice for keeping your recovery intact. Lastly, seek out sober Christmas parties where you will be in the company of people who share your goal of lasting recovery. Each year, members of the program host holiday gatherings that can be a lot of fun.
From all of us at Pacific Shores, we wish you a safe and sober, recovery-focused Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Please remember that the hand of recovery is always within reach if you require support. You are not alone.
The Holiday Season is a Great Time to Make Changes
After Christmas comes the New Year: a time to make resolutions for leading a happier and healthier existence. If drugs and alcohol are negatively impacting your life, then please reach out to Pacific Shores to discuss treatment options. We can help you bring in the new year with a new sense of purpose as you embark on a journey toward long-term recovery.