New Year’s Eve. The Fourth of July. Memorial Day. For many addicts and alcoholics, holidays can provide a special excuse for out of control drug or alcohol use. And in recovery, they can represent a potential opportunity for relapse.
How can you survive — and even enjoy — these special occasions without sacrificing your sober or clean time?
First of all, it’s important to remember that holidays aren’t synonymous with substance abuse. While many people do overindulge on such days, there are plenty of people who stay enjoy holiday activities clean and sober. Search them out.
The best place to find people who are staying clean for the holiday, of course, is at a meeting. Twelve Step meetings are held every day of the year, and some even plan special marathon meetings to help members get through difficult holidays.
If you’re not sure whether your home group will be getting together, ask a sober friend for meeting recommendations, or plan your own get-together. Try creating a new tradition that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol.
But if you have to be around people who are drinking, at a family gathering, for example, make sure to take steps to protect yourself. Ensuring that you have your own transportation — and can leave to a meeting if you get triggered — can be helpful. If that’s not an option, keep your sober friends’ phone numbers handy so you can step out and make a quick call to connect, if needed.
Above all, don’t let yourself romanticize the booze- and drug-fueled holidays of the past. If you catch yourself reminiscing about your past misadventures, make sure to include the holidays that were ruined because of your drug or alcohol use: the times you missed the day completely, or suffered some other negative consequence because of your addiction.
Spending the holidays sober is a chance to create new, positive, memories, and to truly celebrate life and the freedom of recovery. At Clean Path Behavioral Health, we can help you take the first steps on that path to a new life. Contact us today to find out how.