The holiday season is always a trying time of the year for a recovering alcoholic or addict, whether you are new to recovery or have many years sober. It can be a season of cheer or drear but the important thing to remember is that active addiction doesn’t have any seasons only the consequences of jails, institutions, and death.
Staying sober is a unique journey but there’s a common bond between those in recovery that can never be pulled apart. A helpful perspective is knowing that any time of year, recovery is always the most important. The biggest cause of relapse is correlated between two things: emotional highs and emotional lows. One of the most important avenues for maintaining sobriety during holidays is having sober support. Make sure to stay connected and be honest with your support system so you can stay accountable throughout the day.
As we know, the disease of addiction is a family disease that can destroy not only the lives of addicts and alcoholics but also the ones around them that care about them the most. Sometimes the consequences of addiction can be even more glaring during the holiday season as we can more easily see the damage it’s caused to those around us. This can create isolation, feelings of self-pity, guilt, or shame. Letting the past be the past and continuing to put recovery first is vital during the holiday season.
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If you are in a 12 step program, get active. Call your sponsor. Get to a meeting. Call the AA or NA hotline. No one has to go through the journey alone, and any person in recovery can be good support. If you are out of town or have plans of travel make sure to look up the local meeting list and choose those that work for you. Let your sponsor know your plans too. If weather or outside circumstances prevent you from getting to a meeting then you can look up AA or NA speaker videos online or call sober support.
Embrace the new experience of being present during the holidays. If you don’t have family or close friends to spend it with, it’s ok. A holiday is just like any other day where recovery comes first. If you are fortunate enough to be around family and close friends, be grateful. Recovery is a beautiful journey that transforms brokenness into wholeness. It takes time, and the holiday season is just another time of the year no different from any other. One day at a time. One moment at a time. One holiday feast or one Chinese takeout dinner at a time. Stay present, stay connected, and most importantly, stay clean & sober.