It can be challenging to maintain a wellness routine during the holiday season. From hosting out-of-town visitors to parties and festivities to all the gooey, sugary, not-so-healthy treats, it’s easy to get off track. This doesn’t mean you can’t participate and still have fun; it just means requiring a little bit of vigilance and prioritizing. Maintaining a wellness routine is especially crucial for people recovering from substance abuse.
For many people in recovery, the invitation to a holiday party gives them pause, knowing full well there might be alcoholic drinks being served and people who don’t know they’re in recovery. That’s why we recommend a few suggestions of practices to end the year on a good note and start the next one on the right foot.
Many people in recovery struggle to stop themselves at one drink. For some, there is no such thing as “moderation” when the temptation is that severe. There’s no easy way to explain to out-of-town friends or relatives that you struggle with sobriety or that you haven’t been around much because you’ve been in treatment for the better part of the year. How much information you reveal is up to you, but it doesn’t make the situation any less uncomfortable. With luck, most people will be sympathetic and understanding rather than express judgment or condemnation.
There’s no reason to hide in a hole for fear of relapse this season. You can participate in all the usual activities, just with a few safeguards in place. Consider the following suggestions.
The holidays have a way of throwing everyday routines into chaos. If you attend regular 12-Step meetings each week or meet regularly with a sponsor, keep doing that. Keep making time for regular exercise, continue making healthy meals, and go to bed at a reasonable hour. These are good life practices in general, but especially necessary for people trying to reset their minds and bodies in recovery. All of these practices help support sobriety and prevent relapse.
You may be getting many invitations to parties at this time: friends’ parties, family gatherings, and office events. Depending on where these events take place and who will be there, we advise you to consider which invitations you accept. Will the event be held in a bar or a venue with an open bar? Will there be people there who might pressure you to “loosen up” and have a drink? These are essential factors to consider as you schedule out the last months of the year.
If you do have to say no, you can do so gracefully. You don’t owe anyone a specific reason for being unable to attend unless you’re comfortable giving it. Keep on making progress with your recovery, and you may be able to reevaluate invitations when next year comes around.
If you do decide to attend a party where alcohol will be served, prepare accordingly. Decide what you will say ahead of time if you’re offered a drink or how you’ll respond if someone asks why you’re not drinking this time. Plan when you will arrive and when you will leave. Ask the host ahead of time if there will be non-alcoholic options available, or bring one of your own (sparkling grape juice looks no different than champagne when poured into a fancy glass). Be sure to have a reliable form of transportation if you’re uncomfortable and need to leave early. You may want to schedule a call with your sponsor or attend a 12-Step meeting after for extra accountability.
One great way to reduce the temptation to drink can be to offer to help with hosting. When you’re busy carrying out trays and serving others’ plates, you’ll be able to take the focus off of yourself and any cravings. There is also increased motivation to stay sober when you know that people are counting on your help.
You may also want to consider filling your time with volunteering in your community. See if your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter can use an extra pair of hands this season. Doing good things for humanity is another excellent way to enable recovery – and feel good doing it.
Enlightened Solutions is a place to start rebuilding your life after struggling with addiction. We advocate for holistic ways of healing and living in order to be fully healthy. Some of the programs and practices we offer include:
The holiday season may be challenging and full of potential triggers, but you don’t have to face it alone. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a variety of treatment and wellness programs to help you in your recovery journey from substance abuse. Learn how to replace unhealthy habits with life-giving ones, change negative thought patterns, and rebuild a supportive community. Through our holistic treatments and practices, we have had the privilege of helping many people achieve long-term sobriety and live healthier and happier lifestyles. We believe in a “whole-person” approach that focuses on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing. If you’re struggling with addiction and need help, contact us today at (833) 801-LIVE to learn more.
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