The Challenges of the Holiday Season

The holiday season is most commonly associated with cheer, joy and nostalgia. Our cultural traditions are intended to bring us together with family and friends to celebrate gratitude and appreciation with loved ones. For many of us, however, this time of year brings with it some very real challenges that can make the season stressful rather than joyful. We can be filled with fear, anxiety and sadness rather than with the merriment the holidays are traditionally known for.

Some of the challenges we face with the holiday season come from the fact that we don’t have the family or other close relationships that other people are joyfully celebrating this time of year. We can feel an acute sense of loneliness seeing other people with their loved ones when we aren’t able to be with ours. For some of us, we have isolated ourselves so much that we no longer have close relationships to benefit from. Our addictions might have caused so much damage to our relationships that we are now totally estranged from them. We might have lost our loved ones, and this time of year serves as a painful reminder of our grief.

The sadness and loneliness we feel are some of the emotions we grew accustomed to avoiding through our addictions. The holiday season can make us want to return to our old behaviors to escape the pain we’re feeling. We might find ourselves feeling anxious and afraid that we’ll relapse. We can find ourselves tempted by the holiday parties and celebrations that are often centered around alcohol. We might be spending time with people who themselves are not sober and who might not realize the difficulties we’re having. The heightened emotions and temptation surrounding the holidays can be overwhelming, and we might find ourselves increasingly worried about relapsing.

There are some ways we can handle the challenges of the holiday season. One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to prepare and plan ahead. We can plan which parties we attend and choose events hosted by other sober people in recovery. We can plan ahead to attend extra meetings whenever we’re feeling particularly challenged. We can make a plan with our sponsor to communicate more than usual. We can ask our loved ones to support our efforts and make parties more inclusive of people who don’t drink. The holiday season can be overwhelming, but with preparation, we can allow ourselves to partake in its fun and celebration rather than becoming depressed and risking relapse.

At Enlightened Solutions, we believe that every addict can recover. We want to help you remember that life can be full of happiness and enjoyable experiences. Call (833) 801-LIVE today.


How to Handle Holiday Stress

How to Handle Holiday Stress

The holiday season can be complicated for everyone. It’s important to start planning ahead of the season before it hits you like a ton of bricks. Being prepared for the madness of the season is vital. There will be stressors such as family, finances, sugar and other various issues that pop up. It is recommended for those who have depression and anxiety to keep up appointments with therapist, counselors, and other support. Staying close to the solution is the safest bet when entering such a chaotic time of year. People with addiction must use their tools and coping mechanisms to survive all of the holiday parties and events. One wrong turn can bring upon a preventable disaster.

Different customs permit for spending during the holidays and this can throw a wrench into a finely tuned budget. Being smart with money is easier said than done. Those with addiction who hold on to past behavior can lead to feelings of guilt and shame. Children who had been caught in the crossfire, now have sober parents back, and that may feel foreign. It’s easy for parents to want to make up for lost time by overcompensating. Speaking with someone about this urge will help with compulsively spending money. This doesn’t make up for past harm as much as spending quality time with loved ones presently. The stress will then rub off on the child, which defeats the purpose altogether.

To be realistic and without expectations, will take a person a long way. In early recovery, it’s easy to feel pressured into trying to make everything “perfect” again. Staying present and letting go of control during the holidays will give less of a reason to break down which could possibly trigger a desire to relapse. Going to support groups regularly will help with urges and offers the opportunity to talk about what’s going on. Having sober things to do can distract from old behaviors and habits. If there are parties that are triggering, simply don’t go. Do not let the holidays control your behavior and sobriety. This can be the biggest transformation of the year!

Enlightened Solutions offers solution-based tool and coping mechanisms to handle life at its best and worst. If you or if you know someone is struggling with addiction this holiday season, call us today for information on our partial care programs for recovery at: 833-801-5483. It’s time to take back your life!