If you have made it to the recovery stage of your addiction treatment, you should be very proud of yourself.
If you’ve taken those steps to recognize your dependency on your issues, and you’ve worked through rehab and withdrawal to get to the end of the line, then you know there is no real end to the line and you will forever be working hard on yourself to keep yourself in the Green Zone.
The problem is that there are many different triggers that can trip you up along the way and one of them is the holidays.
There’s something about the holidays that stresses people out, and even if stress isn’t your trigger, then being around a range of alcohol and food can be. Something as simple as a certain place or a certain person can cause somebody to crave their old habits and escape into their addictions that they have lived with prior.
It takes some strength to reject these cravings, and it’s critical to be able to reject them for an addiction-free life. The good news is that there are some specific things that you can avoid that will help you as a recovering addict. Here are some of the things that you should avoid around Christmas while you are recovering from an addiction.
Christmas parties and holiday festivities are all fun and games until you have to try and avoid any of the drinks that are served. You might be feeling strong but there is a huge feeling of being left out if you don’t have a drink – and you really need to avoid it.
You can say yes to festive parties but make sure that you have someone with you who is aware of your recovery so that they can effectively be your spotter. This way, you don’t end up off the wagon you’ve fought so hard to board!
Friends who don’t get it
It might sound harsh, but avoiding friends of yours who don’t understand your needs is important. You need to ensure that you have people around you who can be a part of your recovery and not a part of the problem.
Your recovery has to be your priority and knowing that you are hanging out with substance-abusing friends could jeopardize it. It’s going to be one of the most important parts of your recovery, to stay away from people who just don’t get it.
Avoid high expectations
It’s the toughest and for some, loneliest, time of the year at Christmas. The holidays bring about a lot of feelings that can make you feel bad about yourself. It’s important to know, however, that your life is still going to happen no matter what your sobriety levels are. So, you have to remember that having too high expectations about being sober is going to lead to your disappointment and you can avoid this entirely by avoiding high expectations.
Stay away from new relationships
One of the biggest battles about addiction is ‘filling the cup’. You have to avoid creating new relationships that could become a crutch for you over the Christmas period.
You don’t want to fall into bad habits trying to put your energy into a new partner when you need to put your energy into yourself. If you ensure that you are working on yourself and not a new relationship you are far less likely to fall into bad habits.
Don’t take on too much
The holiday period is a stressful time and when you are dealing with newfound independence, you need to focus on that. Even if you feel like you don’t need more time a relapse can tap on your shoulder when you least expect it. Being too busy can cause some overwhelming feelings and that can make you feel like there’s too much pressure on your shoulders.
You are allowed to get through the holidays and find it rough. It’s okay to have days where you are finding it hard but the key is in ensuring that you are not alone when it happens. The hard work is still ahead of you and you deserve to celebrate the holidays while also keeping to your sobriety.
Your commitment to staying clean and making that fresh start is to be commended and you should feel proud of yourself when you do it. Keep in touch with your sponsor and your rehab center over the holidays. You won’t regret the time you take to make yourself happy.