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Holidays in Recovery: Finding a Balance

Holidays in recovery can be a difficult time for anyone. You may feel hyper-focused on avoiding triggering situations or dealing with family that brings you down. Having a positive mindset and finding a strong balance during this time can go a long way. It is possible to enjoy the holidays while feeling confident in your sobriety.

Holidays in Recovery Can Be Intimidating

Even though the holidays are supposed to be a joyous time, it’s common knowledge that this is not always the case. In fact, the holidays tend to bring out the worst in people. Family arguments, high-stress situations, and ill-prepared festivities can all be a recipe for disaster. When you’re in recovery, this time can be even more intimidating. You may be going into the season feeling fearful that you’ll be unable to protect your sobriety.

A Special Challenge

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the holidays present a “special challenge for people recovering from a substance use disorder.” High expectations like gift-giving may trigger someone in bad financial straits. There is also the obvious fact that alcohol and other substances are commonly served during holiday gatherings. This can be extremely difficult to navigate, especially if you’re in early recovery.

How to Navigate the Holidays in Recovery

Your first thought may be to immediately label the holidays as a tough time. Instead, what if you could re-frame your mindset to see all the positives? Even though you’re in recovery, you still have every right to enjoy this time of year and make the most out of it. Going into the season with a different outlook can help you stay grounded and regain your confidence through personal decision-making.

Keep A Positive Mindset

When you’re in active addiction, you may have lost your sense of self-esteem. Going through the motions each and every day can even cause you to have a negative outlook on life. However, enjoying holidays in recovery is possible when you take small steps to re-frame your mindset. According to a 2017 study in Addiction & Health, positive thinking can bring about “high hope results” in the quality of life (QOL) for drug-dependent people. It can increase self-confidence, self-efficacy, and overall well-being.

Re-Frame the Negative

When you’re feeling negative emotions creep up during the holidays, you can intentionally take some time out to re-frame your thoughts. Sit with yourself for a few moments to explore the feelings that are coming up. You can even ask yourself: “Is this as bad as my mind is making it out to be?”

You may even want to keep a journal to get your negative thoughts and feelings out of your mind and onto paper. For each negative thought or feeling, you can write down a positive alternative. Always remember that your feelings are valid, no matter what. There is no shame in feeling down, but you do have the power to turn that around.

Seek Out Sober Joy and Fun

There are many activities during the holiday season that will help you maintain your sobriety. You may find a new hobby through holiday craft-making, or attend a class where you learn to bake holiday treats. Another idea is to have a small gathering with friends and family to decorate together. You can even go online and search for holiday events in your area. When you intentionally seek out sober joy and fun, you’ll be able to reprogram your mind away from the cycle of addiction. Transitioning to an addiction-free life is possible when you realize how many possibilities there are to fill your days with joy.

Holidays in Recovery: More Tips to Stay Sober

Holidays in recovery can be joyous, but it’s still important to protect your sobriety when necessary. It’s okay to say “no” to certain situations or people if you think it may impact your recovery.

Create Strong Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries is more important than ever during the holiday season. These will help you avoid potentially triggering situations. What are your non-negotiable choices for the holiday season? What personal values do you want to protect? You may choose to avoid parties where alcohol and substances will be available. There also may be family or friends that you choose not to see during this time.

Seek Out Recovery Groups and Programs

Last but not least, the holidays in recovery will be a lot easier when you know you have strong support. Recovery programs like that at The Guest House can help you create structure and hold you accountable during this time. Here at The Guest House, we deeply understand how intimidating the holiday season can feel. We work with each one of our guests on an individualized basis to help you make it through the holidays feeling confident in your sobriety.

Support and Fun

Group therapy at The Guest House program brings together people with common goals and experiences. It can be extremely helpful when you know there are others who understand your struggles. Talking about your fears and worries during the holidays can also help you process them in a much more positive way.

The Guest House even provides a wide variety of holistic remedies and sober fun. You may want to unpack the stress of the holiday season through meditation or yoga. You can also explore therapeutic art or music to enrich your mind. The holidays don’t need to be a negative experience. With the right tools, support, and outlook, you can create a joyful time while you’re in recovery during the holidays.

The holidays in recovery can be intimidating without a good plan of action. When you cultivate a positive mindset, seek out sober joy, and enforce healthy boundaries, you can really enjoy this time of year. At The Guest House, we understand how stressful this season can be. Here, you will find structure and support among staff and peers who can relate to your experiences. Our unique blend of cutting-edge holistic therapies and traditional modalities will help you discover new adventures, build healthy relationships, and strengthen your confidence for a seamless transition into an addiction-free life. You deserve to be happy during the holidays and any time of year. For more information, call us at (855) 483-7800.