It is not unusual for those in recovery to feel both excited and anxious about the holiday season. Right now, you are healing your mind and your body. You want to remain on this healing journey without any interferences.
Recovery can mean something different to each person overcoming addiction. One way to aid in the process is to follow the R.E.C.O.V.E.R.Y. guidelines:
- Responsible - Be responsible for your behaviors.
- Effort - Make the effort to stay sober.
- Commitment – Make the commitment to stay sober.
- Opportunity - Find opportunities for success.
- Value – Value yourself.
- Energy – Gain energy for healing.
- Rejuvenate - Participate in activities to help you rejuvenate your whole body.
- Yoga - Practice wellness through yoga to heal you mind, body and spirit.
These tips can be especially helpful during the holidays. For some, the holidays can bring situations and even emotions that make it hard to stay on your path of recovery. This is true for everyone who is overcoming addiction of any kind. You are not alone.
This does not mean, however, that you must avoid all holiday events to avoid relapse. By following these tips, you can realize your best holiday season yet.
Seek and Share Support
It’s important to avoid isolation. Instead, surround yourself with positive influences. There are others in recovery who also need support during the holidays. Spend time with them. As a group, find ways to give back to the community or to those in need.
When you offer support to others, you will notice you no longer focus on your own needs. Instead, your focus is on helping. If you were to isolate yourself, your attention would be on you and your struggles. Helping others redirects your attention and gives you a sense of reward.
Because you can’t spend the entire holiday season helping others or being with sober friends, you may still need to find support, such as seeking therapy. Recognizing your need for therapy is a sign of being self-aware. It means you are in tune with your own needs. This is an exceptional quality.
During the holidays it is okay to attend five, six, or more support groups a week. It’s okay to attend multiple groups a day if needed. In fact, attending individual and group counseling before, during, and after the holidays can benefit your overall well-being.
If you are not already doing so, begin practices that help you alleviate stress and maintain a healthy balance.
Holidays is all about family gatherings, office parties, and other events. You may be invited to all of them. However, you do not have to attend all of them just because you were invited.
Feeling obligated can be exhausting—physically, mentally, and spiritually. During recovery, you need strength. To keep your strength and maintain a good internal and external balance, participate in activities that are positive.
Getting rest and the right amount of sleep are some of the best ways to ensure healing during recovery. Those who want you to be successful in your recovery will support your decisions to decline invitations. They will also respect your desires to avoid any potential triggers.
Prepare for Triggers
As you know, there will be people, places, and things that act as triggers daily. This is no different during the holidays. However, because socializing with friends and family is increased during the holidays, the number of triggers you may encounter will also be higher.
Planning for potential triggers is one way you can protect yourself from unwanted stress. If you are attending a party where substances may be used, have a plan. You can take non-alcoholic drinks for yourself, you can attend with a sober partner, or you can plan an exit strategy.
Prepare for all scenarios so you can avoid being surprised or caught off guard. Part of your preparation can include practicing self-compassion.
Self-compassion starts with caring for your complete self. Meaning, your mental, physical, and spiritual needs should be met, especially during the holidays. Be intentional in your self-care.
To accomplish this, participate in activities created to help you connect the mind, body, and spirit, and heal them as a single unit. For example: meditation and yoga. In addition, providing your body with healthy food will act as fuel and give you strength.
Avoid judgments, especially of yourself. You have many positive traits and have successes that should be celebrated.
Celebrate Your Successes
Acknowledge your accomplishments. The holiday season is the perfect time to reward yourself for your successes to date. Successes do not have to be large. In recovery, each day is filled with overcoming difficulties.
Celebrate the small hurdles you have made. These contribute just as much to your well-being as do the larger successes.
The holiday season is the perfect time to seek new learning opportunities and discover new talents you have been hidden until now.
Start celebrating the many gifts of life that you couldn’t enjoy before recovery. Savor food flavors, gaze at the stars, and show gratitude for everything. Begin placing importance on all parts of your life. Recognize you have value and purpose.
Maintaining recovery is your top priority during this holiday season. By focusing on your recovery now, you will be able to attend many holiday events without stress in your future.
Get personalized instruction in a mind, body, spirit approach to healing from addiction at the Chopra Addiction and Wellness Center. Learn More.