A glimpse of a decorated tree in the corner store, that first holiday jingle on the radio, invitations piling up at your door—yes, the holiday season is upon us. For many, this time of year brings tidings of comfort and joy, combined with feelings of loneliness, anxiety and depression. For those just beginning and those in long-term recovery, the holiday season can be one of the most challenging times for staying sober.
Here are some tips that can help you through these tough couple weeks when the eggnog and memories are flowing and you find yourself struggling to hold on to your sobriety.
Be selective of your parties: Did you get an invite to a holiday party where you know from past experiences that it will get out of hand? Decline it. Nothing good can come from putting yourself in a situation with temptation that may bring back memories of a time best left behind you.
Know when it’s time to leave: Before you show up at any holiday party, prepare a response for why you are leaving. If you are already armed with a response for leaving early, you will feel less stressed out and more able to cope with any questions that pop up.
Maintain your support system: Members of your support system understand what you are going through and can identify with how the holiday season creates anxiety and stress. It is important to continue with group support meetings to talk over any of the lows that the holiday season may bring forth.
Remind yourself how far you’ve come: The holidays can be a harsh reminder of some of your past indiscretions. Before your sobriety, holidays may have been a time of heavy substance use and stress. It is crucial to not dwell on your past mistakes but instead focus on your life now.
With so many gatherings and celebrations packed into one important month, life can get hectic during the holidays. During this time, we need to take a moment to slow down and remember all that we have been given and what we are thankful for. If you still feel the anxiety threaten or depression begin to roll over you, do not hesitate to reach out to someone who can help bring joy back to your world. At The Blanchard Institute, we are here during the holiday season to give you the support you need to overcome any of your holiday blues.