The holiday season is typically associated with special celebrations, traditions and togetherness. But most of us have also experienced some level of holiday stress due to family conflicts, financial concerns or even loneliness. For those recovering from substance abuse, the added stressors can make it especially difficult to stay sober this time of year.
If you or a loved one are battling addiction this holiday season, there is hope! Relapse does not have to be your story. The best way to stay on track is to have a plan of action before the hustle and bustle of the season begins.
Here are a few tips to help you resist the temptation of drugs and alcohol during the holidays.
1. Avoid Triggers
If a certain friend or family member is likely to set you off or drag you down, it’s okay to stay away from them. If the office party will be flowing with booze, don’t go. Avoid any person or place that would require you to “stay strong.” It’s better to miss a holiday gathering and maintain your sobriety than it is to risk the possibility of slipping into old habits.
2. Have an Escape Plan
Even when you are mindful of your triggers, you may find yourself in a situation where drugs and alcohol are present. Before you go out, rehearse how you might decline a substance offered to you. Practicing your response will make you feel more confident in the case that you need to use it. If possible, bring an accountability buddy along with you to holiday events, or have a trusted resource on speed dial.
3. Find Your People
Plan to engage with others in recovery who understand what you are going through. Support groups and mentors will keep you encouraged and motivated to continue your pursuit of sobriety. Don’t be afraid to reach out!
4. Develop New Traditions
If the holidays have a history of exacerbating addictive behaviors, celebrate in a new way! For example, you could replace a toxic family Thanksgiving with a Friendsgiving where you are surrounded by people who have your best interests in mind.
5. Never Underestimate the Power of Prayer
When you struggle, remember that the Creator of the universe is rooting for you, and in your weakness, He is strong. God is only a prayer away, and you may be surprised to see how he shows up when you invite him into the messiness of life.
With a little planning, you’ll be ready to overcome temptation from Thanksgiving through the New Year. If you need help staying sober this holiday season, call 7 Springs Ministries at 256-831-0211.