The holidays are directly upon us, and while this is a time of festivity and cheer for many people, it can also be a struggle for those in addiction recovery. The holidays are often a time where people are used to imbibing with substances, but for those who are practicing sobriety or looking to steer clear of triggers as part of addiction recovery, it’s important to manage these settings diligently.
At Moonlight Mountain Recovery, we’re happy to provide both inpatient and outpatient addiction recovery services, and we often assist patients in the latter setting during these times of the year. What are some of the risks that are typically heightened during the holidays for some people in substance abuse addiction recovery, and how can you manage your triggers and have a great time this holiday season without risking your recovery? Here are some important areas to keep in mind.
Common Addiction Risks or Triggers Around the Holidays
Unfortunately, there are a few ways in which the holidays can serve as a difficult time for those in addiction recovery. These include:
- Greater presence of alcohol or substances: As we already touched on above, the most notable element of the holidays is the greater presence of alcohol or other substances. This can be difficult for those who are in early recovery, as it may be a temptation that they’re not yet ready to face.
- Social pressures: The holidays often bring with them social pressures to drink or party, regardless of what your current level of sobriety may be. This can be especially difficult for those in early recovery.
- Unfamiliar environments: Going to new places and experiencing unfamiliar surroundings can bring about anxiety for those in addiction recovery. This can be a major source of struggle during the holidays, as many people find themselves visiting multiple homes or events with different settings than what they’re used to.
- Prior abuse environments: On the flip side, many patients in addiction recovery may find themselves returning to homes and environments that were once linked with substance abuse or other forms of abuse. This can be incredibly triggering, and it’s important to be mindful of this potential issue when planning your holiday schedule.
- Reminders of family or significant others: Finally, for those in addiction recovery, reminders of family members or significant others who have passed away can be a major source of triggers. It’s important to keep these emotions in mind and surround yourself with supportive individuals if you’re feeling uneasy this holiday season.
Hosting a Sober Party
In many cases, one of the best possible approaches to managing your triggers and having a great time during the holidays is to host your own sober gathering. This allows you to stay in charge of your own environment, and can often be a source of joy for those looking to celebrate without compromising their sobriety.
Some tips for hosting a successful sober party are:
- Have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks on hand: This can be a great way to provide another focus point and make sure that the environment is one that’s not centered around alcohol or other substances.
- Make sure there are plenty of activities: Providing activities such as board games, arts & crafts, music, or movies can help keep everyone engaged and avoid any potential awkwardness that may come with being in a room without alcohol.
- Invite supportive people: As we mentioned previously, having close friends and family members who are understanding of your sobriety journey can be a major resource during the holidays. Make sure you invite those people to your gathering so you can have a positive environment.
Attending a Non-Sober Party
Now, it’s completely acceptable for someone in addiction recovery to attend gatherings where alcohol or other substances are present. However, it’s important to stay mindful of your triggers and keep the following tips in mind:
- Keep your distance from alcohol or drugs: If you know that you’re not comfortable being around these substances, make sure to stay away. It may also be a good idea to bring along some non-alcoholic drinks or snacks to help avoid any potential temptation.
- Be vocal about your recovery: If it’s comfortable for you, let the people in attendance know that you’re recovering from addiction and respectful of everyone else’s choices. This can be a great way to set boundaries and ensure that your rights are respected.
- Bring a support system: If possible, try to bring a friend or family member along who will understand your journey and support you in any situation. Having someone there can make it much easier to stay on track and focus on having a good time without compromising your sobriety.
- Have an “escape” plan: For whatever reason, you may not feel comfortable staying in a certain environment. It’s important to have a plan in order and know how you’ll remove yourself if necessary.
Importance of Saying No
No matter which settings you find yourself in this holiday season, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to compromise your sobriety journey or your health for the sake of fitting in. If someone offers you a drink or other substances, remember that it’s completely acceptable to say no and stand by your beliefs!
The holidays can be a challenging time for those in addiction recovery, but it’s important to remember that there are plenty of ways to stay on track and enjoy yourself! Be mindful of potential triggers, have a support system, and don’t be afraid to say no if necessary. With the right resources and attitude, you’ll be able to make the most out of this holiday season while taking care of your sobriety.
And for assistance with any addiction recovery process or need, contact our team at Moonlight Mountain Recovery today.