This is a challenging time of year for those who struggle with addiction. Routines are interrupted. There is eggnog at Christmas and champagne at New Years, and let’s not forget the holiday parties/celebrations where you are surrounded by alcohol. The increased presence of alcohol and a disruption to routine, along with higher incidences of depression and loneliness, can often make maintaining sobriety even more difficult than usual. Many women at Calvary are currently separated from their families and children and are recovering from addiction as well- December is one of the hardest months of the year to stay clean and sober.
During this time of year, in order to stave off the holiday blues, it is very important to stay in close contact with family and friends, even if separated by circumstance or distance. A simple phone call can make a huge difference and be a much needed mood booster. And if struggling to maintain sobriety, it is even more important to stay in contact with friends or sponsors who are also in recovery. Talking with others who share similar experiences is so critical; they can give the extra support and strength needed to stay sober, including tips and insight into how to avoid uncomfortable situations and fight off loneliness. Attending meetings to focus on the recovery process can also be a great idea!
Avoid parties with alcohol present; however, if that is not an option don’t hesitate or feel guilty leaving if it begins to feel uncomfortable or threatening to sobriety. Parties and holiday functions can greatly increase the desire to use drugs or alcohol. Focus on the music, games, and conversation instead, or find new ways to celebrate. Avoid isolation, spend time with others who do not drink, and create new traditions and rituals to redefine the holiday without alcohol or drugs.
In the meantime, give back to those around you! Share recovery experiences and helpful tips with others in similar situations. People who are experiencing their first sober holidays or who have just recently started recovery can greatly benefit from your advice and company. You can be a source of strength and inspiration, and this will give a rewarding sense of accomplishment and pride, as well as alleviate stress in your own life.