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.
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