The holiday season officially begins just one week from tomorrow, with Thanksgiving next Thursday. While the holiday season can be a chaotic and stressful time for the average American, it can be exponentially more stressful for the men and women working a program. Holidays have a way of dredging up old memories of a time when drinking and drugging was not problematic, partying with close friends and family from Thanksgiving through the New Year.
It isn’t just people who are new to recovery who struggle when the holidays come around. Even those with a significant amount of sobriety or clean time can find the holidays to be trying. It is vital that even the most seasoned members of the program put their recovery first on Thanksgiving and the subsequent holidays that follow. Remember, your addiction is just waiting for you to slip up, so it can rear its ugly head.
If you are new to recovery, it is likely that your sponsor or recovery peers have told you how important it is to have plans over the course of a holiday. It is often said that idle time is the devil’s handmaiden. It can also be analogous to inviting one’s addiction back into the picture. Those who successfully navigate the holiday waters, without picking up a drink or drug, are typically people who had a plan in place for the day. A schedule that is centered around one’s recovery. Please do not discount the importance of having a plan for Thanksgiving Day.
For those who still have family in their life, make sure that you set and stick to your boundaries when attending dinner. If you find that your boundaries have been crossed, or that the stress of being around family has become too much, there is no shame in leaving the gathering for the sake of your recovery. Once again, your recovery needs at times to be put before family; without one’s recovery, it is likely you won’t have family in your life.
If you are not traveling for the Thanksgiving break, make a point to attend your homegroup as much as possible. Even if you are feeling strong in your recovery, there is a good chance that there is a newcomer who could benefit from your story. Giving back to the program is paramount to keeping your recovery. Those of you who have traveling plans, make sure that you locate the meetings in the area where you will be. Have your cell phone handy at all times so that you can reach out to your sponsor, if you find yourself in a risky situation.
At Synergy Group Services, we would like to wish everyone working a program of recovery a safe and sober Thanksgiving.
With Thanksgiving only a week away, it is time for people in recovery to begin thinking about what their day will look like. Holidays can be quite difficult for people in recovery, especially those who are new to the program. A lot of feelings and memories can arise, which can be hard to work through. It is ever important to stay connected with one’s support network and keep to the normal routine as much as possible.
For whatever reason, people in recovery tend to look at the holidays as being somehow different than the other days of the year. Fortunately, that is not the case! The tools of recovery work 365 days a year – vacations and holidays are no exception.
It is important to remember that you are not alone, many people in recovery struggle during the holidays; but, it is possible, together, to get through the day without picking up a drink or drug. Having a list of phone numbers you can call, no matter the reason, can save one’s recovery. If you find yourself in a recovery threatening situation, pick up the phone and call your sponsor; a simple phone call can break the kind of thinking that may be leading to relapse. If for some reason your sponsor doesn’t answer, leave a message, and immediately call the next person on your recovery support list – someone will answer.
It is important to attend your “home group” during a holiday, making yourself present will help reaffirm your place in the community. People in recovery draw strength from each other, even if you are not struggling you may be able to help someone who is having hard time.
Here are several tips you can use to help you over the holiday:
- Plan Out Your Day Ahead of Time: Having a plan laid out will minimize the chances of finding yourself in a risky situation.
- Get To A Meeting: Over the course of the day, there are meetings happening at the top of every hour.
- Volunteer: Recovery events are always held during the major holidays, offering to help out is a sure way to get out of your head.
- Remember H.A.L.T (Hungry.Angry.Lonely.Tired): Be conscious of how you are feeling, if any of the aforementioned feelings arise – take action!
- Support: Make sure to leave the house with your cell phone. If you don’t have one, carry a list of phone numbers you can call for support.
Synergy Group Services would like to wish everyone a safe and sober holiday!
At Synergy Group Services we offer individualized treatment plans for addiction recovery.