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Protecting Your Sobriety During the Holidays

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and this can be an extremely difficult time for those in recovery. In order to protect your sobriety during the holidays, it’s important to have an action plan in place.

The Holidays and Your Sobriety

While the holidays are meant to be filled with fun and joy, this time of year can have the opposite effect for those in recovery. Many people may dread upcoming holidays, worried they won’t be able to protect their sobriety. Memories of past substance use and stressful holiday preparations can be a disastrous recipe for relapse. Holiday dinners, gatherings, and parties where drugs and alcohol are present are more factors that can put you at risk. This time can also be highly emotional, so it’s important to navigate it with self-compassion. With the right tools and support, you can not only avoid triggers but actually enjoy the holiday season.

Handling Stress and Triggers

According to a 2020 study in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, a trigger is an external stimuli, and it’s “considered a key element in the craving response showed by addicts.” Historically, the “trigger” has been studied as a stimulus that can activate drug-related memories and lead to craving responses.

Holiday Triggers

During the holidays, you may be faced with triggers from all angles. If substances are present at a dinner gathering or party, this may evoke a strong reaction in you that’s difficult to avoid. Other triggers can include dealing with high stress like holiday shopping, party planning, or spending time with relatives.

Each person has triggers that are unique to them, so it’s important to be aware of these situations. Your sobriety is your top priority, and you can always choose to avoid holiday triggers. Avoidance does not make you a weak person, and avoiding family or friends does not mean you’re rude.

Practices for Stress

The holidays can be a highly stressful and often depressing time. You may be missing loved ones who have passed on, or you may even be overwhelmed by tasks like shopping, gatherings, and taking care of family. If stress plays a big role for you during the holidays, it’s important to have best practices to move through this time more easily. You may want to take periodic breaks whenever you need them. During this time, you can process feelings and emotions in a journal or even spend five minutes in meditation to calm your nervous system down.

A Supportive Network for Your Sobriety

It’s no secret that a supportive network is one of the greatest tools for your sobriety. This time of year can often evoke feelings of loneliness and extreme anxiety, making it more important than ever to have strong support and healthy boundaries in place.

Healthy Boundaries and Your Sobriety

The holidays are the perfect time to set and enforce healthy boundaries, even if they’re a new or daunting idea to you. It’s important to remember that boundaries do not make you selfish or mean. Instead, this is a great practice to reclaim your self-control and confidence in your decision-making. According to a 2015 paper on relapse prevention that appeared in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, setting healthy boundaries is one of the important tasks to learn during recovery, specifically in the growth stage.

Family and Friends

There is no shame in letting your family and friends know that you plan to protect your sobriety during the holidays. You can create a plan ahead of time to let your loved ones know what you expect and what you will need. If your loved ones seem difficult or unhelpful, then you have every right to find a different network of support. The important thing is to have someone by your side so you don’t have to feel like you’re entering this season all alone.

Peers and Clinical Support

One of the most effective ways of protecting your sobriety during the holidays comes from your involvement in treatment and recovery groups or programs. A quality program like that at The Guest House will have highly-trained clinicians to help you through this time with ease. Individual therapy is a great place to voice your concerns and fears. Instead of having to deal with everything on your own, a support counselor or therapist can help you formulate best practices to protect your sobriety and your growth.

Peer support is also highly valuable during the holidays. You may feel like the odd one out at home, where substances like alcohol can be free-flowing. However, when you connect with other individuals who understand your struggles, you can feel validated and seen. This will allow you to move through your journey with more peace of mind.

Protecting Your Sobriety at The Guest House

One of the most effective ways of protecting your sobriety during the holidays comes from your involvement in treatment and recovery groups or programs. The Guest House will provide you with the right tools and resources, as well as peer and clinical support, to help you overcome holiday fears in a safe and comforting space.

Peers and Clinical Support

Instead of having to deal with everything on your own, an individual counselor or therapist can help you formulate best practices to protect your sobriety and your growth. At The Guest House, we believe in the power of strong peer support, especially during the holidays. Instead of feeling like the odd one out, you can participate in group therapy, receiving its many benefits as you feel validated and seen.

Long-Term Recovery

The Guest House believes in providing you with a wide variety of tools and modalities to support your growth. Here, you will find long-term success and experience more peace of mind during the holidays and beyond.

The holiday season can be frightening, especially when you have to protect your sobriety. Outside influences, stressors, and negative memories can all lead to consequences if you don’t have a good plan in place. At The Guest House, our mission is to help you protect your sobriety during the holidays and any time of year. Here, you will learn vital coping skills and strategies to help you avoid relapse. You will also find a strong network of support, from peer groups to clinical therapy. We believe that no one should feel alone during this time. At The Guest House, you will learn how to enjoy the holidays once again. Call us at (855) 483-7800.