Spending Christmas in Alcoholism Recovery

Substance abuse occurs often around the holiday season. Follow the bets tips and sober strategies to maintain your sobriety this Christmas and winter season. Here we provide you some tips and Strategies for alcoholism recovery.

The Best Tips and Strategies for the Holiday Season

Avatar Residential Detox Center_Blog_Best Tips and Sober Strategies for Christmas Holiday

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Is it possible to enjoy the holidays without using Drugs or Alcohol?

As the first sober holiday approaches, the stress and feeling of FOMO that comes with it can feel overwhelming. Your co-workers or family members may begin celebrating in early December by attending holiday parties, and you may feel like you’re missing out. Re-envisioning the holidays without alcohol can be a bit scary. You might be thinking, Christmas will be dull without my wine, or how will I put up with Uncle Arthur’s lame jokes without the booze? However, you will find that sobriety can be pretty enjoyable, especially during the holidays. Instead of spending your time isolating yourself from using drugs or alcohol, you can spend quality time with family and friends, enjoy great food, and make wonderful new memories. You will see that enjoying the holidays without using drugs or alcohol is the best way to spend the day!

A Sober Holiday for alcoholism recovery

Breaking the habit of using drugs and alcohol during the holiday season can be challenging. You may not be looking forward to the holiday season because you haven’t spent one sober in a long time. However, new traditions can be created that don’t involve alcohol abuse or doing drugs. Once you successfully get through this Christmas sober, the following Christmas will be much easier because your last Christmas memory won’t involve you being intoxicated.

New Christmas traditions you may want to create now that you are clean and sober are:

  • Get involved in your community- volunteer, go Christmas caroling, or help a neighbor hang decorations and lights.
  • Spend quality time with your children, nieces, nephews, or your community’s children.
  • Go to a holiday market or festival.
  • Make your ornaments and decorate your tree.
  • Make handmade Christmas gifts.
  • Attend a 12-Step Holiday Party.
  • Attend Church.
  • Spend time outdoors, hiking, ice skating, and chopping wood.
  • Host a sober potluck.

Managing Stress During the Holidays

Stress and the holidays go hand in hand. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, singing, and gathering can sometimes be too much. A lack of routine can add stress to the mix also. When you’re in early recovery, you thrive on routine and have been very cautious of places, people, and things that may trigger a relapse. The holidays can force you into situations where you are exposed to people, places, and things that urge you to want to use drugs or alcohol. Some individuals in recovery may want to skip Christmas and New Year’s altogether, but learning how to cope with these feelings and events is essential.

Here are some helpful ways to cope with holiday stress:

  • Practice mindfulness, even if you can only set aside 10 minutes daily. Taking that time to reflect and be present will be a beneficial stress reliever.
  • Double up on meetings (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous, NA, SMART Recovery, or Refuge Recovery). Filling your schedule with extra meetings is a great way to cope with holiday stress.
  • Avoid holiday parties, bar scenes, and any unnecessary triggers.
  • Stay on your routine as much as you can. If you usually work out in the morning, then keep at it.
  • Call your sponsor or therapist to vent.
  • Write down your feelings in a daily journal.

Surviving Christmas Day Without Substance Abuse

Spending time with family over Christmas can be fantastic but an actual test of our sobriety and the same time. Families can be great, but they can also be a lot, especially during the holidays when you may need to spend consecutive days together or reside under the same roof. This extra bonding time may result in disagreements, angry exchanges, and old feelings resurfacing. If you’ve recently completed a drug detox or alcohol detox, you may be feeling incredibly anxious.

Here are some tips for spending time with family without wanting to use drugs or alcohol afterward:

  • Just because you’ve changed doesn’t mean other people have. Some family members may still get under your skin, so finding ways to work around them is best for your sobriety.
  • Trusting you may still be an issue for some people. They may still refer to times that you broke that trust. Rise above it—no need to attempt to prove yourself by arguing.
  • Locate a meeting nearby so that you have a safe space to retreat if it gets too stressful.
  • Do not fall into the trap. Some family members may get a rise in bringing up controversial topics like politics, don’t let this get a rise out of you.
  • If the adult table is consuming alcohol, you may be better off eating with the kids or sitting in the living room.
  • Keep yourself busy in the kitchen. Either cook something, help clean up or put out the desserts.
  • Give yourself a break. Don’t be afraid to step outside for a while or take a brisk walk around the neighborhood. If you are stressed, it may be a good time to call your sponsor.
  • Practice your breathing so you can better regulate your emotions.

Budgeting for Christmas to Avoid Stress

Early alcoholism and drug recovery can be stressful, especially for those dealing with financial issues, especially individuals with children. Christmas is a challenging time for those struggling financially. If you’ve recently completed alcohol rehab or drug treatment, chances are you haven’t been working and may not have the funds you had hoped for this holiday season. There is usually the feeling of guilt and shame for not being able to afford all the items on their Christmas lists or buying the tree and decorating the house like other homes in the neighborhood. The best advice is to give what you can afford, such as your unconditional love and time. Create your traditions by playing board games, singing Christmas music, and making decorations from construction paper and popcorn. Your loved ones would much rather have you sober than all the gifs money could buy and enjoy alcoholism recovery..

Here are some tips for celebrating Christmas without breaking the bank:

  • DIY gift, ex. knit a scarf, make a coupon booklet, frame some pictures
  • Set a reasonable spending limit for yourself and others.
  • Be upfront with your family in terms of your financial situation.
  • Suggest a potluck for Christmas dinner to offset the cost.
  • DIY Christmas decor.
  • Shop the sales or second-hand stores.

Overspending in December leads to a stressful January.

If you overspend for Christmas, you set yourself up for a tough start to the new year. Your loved ones want to see and spend time with you, and they don’t want you to go broke and become stressed, which could result in a relapse. Overgiving could also make you feel like you are not appreciated, leading to resentment. Focus on being mindful and enjoying the holidays sober. Help out where you can. An in-kind contribution goes a long way.

How to avoid relapse at Christmas

The holidays can be challenging for individuals recently released from a rehab center. The stress of winter and the holiday season can be enough to trigger a relapse. There is also a lot more temptation during this time of year due to all the parties and get-togethers. The best way to avoid a potential relapse is to take precautions.

Follow these preventive measures to avoid a relapse:

  • Ignore peer pressure. Have your replies ready if people attempt to pressure you into breaking your sobriety.
  • Feeling lonely during the holidays can be a big trigger. Make plans with people to ensure you are not alone.
  • Add more 12-step recovery meetings to your schedule.
  • Bring your drink wherever you go.
  • Have your sponsor on speed dial.
  • Spend time with recovery support groups
  • If attending a holiday party will be too challenging, don’t be afraid to say no. If you feel you must attend, bring along a sober buddy. Having someone with you that doesn’t drink alcohol or do drugs will help.
  • Honesty is the best policy. If you are starting to struggle, let someone know.

Let’s normalize sobriety.

There is no reason to feel like you need to defend your sobriety. Before age 21, no one would have thought twice to ask you why you weren’t drinking, so don’t feel like now that you’re older than 21, that has changed. Nowadays, people abstain from alcohol for many reasons; regardless of health or personal reasons, it’s no one’s business. If you are not judging others for drinking, they shouldn’t be judging you.

Don’t be a Scrooge

Some people have never been fond of Christmas, and just because you are sober doesn’t necessarily mean that will change. However, having a positive mindset and attitude will make getting through the holiday season much more accessible. You don’t have to go Christmas caroling or participate in ugly sweater day at the office if you don’t want to but try your best to stay positive this holiday season, and everything will be a lot less annoying.

New Year’s Resolution

Once you’ve successfully survived Christmas, it is on to the challenge of New Year’s Eve. To make sure you ring in the New Year drug and alcohol-free, follow these helpful tips:

  • Go to a drug and alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration
  • Attend a 12-step meeting
  • Plan a nature hike or skiing trip.
  • Give yourself the gift of alcohol treatment.
  • Make a list of everything you have accomplished since you became sober, and then list all you hope to accomplish within the following year.

Dealing with the After-Christmas Blues

A lot of people are pleased during the holidays. They enjoy searching for the perfect gifts, wrapping presents, and placing them under the tree. They love all the get-togethers and spending time with friends and family, but then Christmas day is over, they put all the decorations away, and family and friends return to their regular routines. Winter begins, days feel darker and colder, and reasons for relapse may appear. The number one way to avoid relapse is to plan for it. Schedule time with family and friends in January and February. Take a class, buy tickets for a play or concert, so you have something lined up to look forward to. It’s also important to speak up if you feel depressed or on edge. Your recovery community is an excellent network of support.

Suppose you are struggling with alcoholism, alcohol use disorder, or symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and would like to discuss treatment options. Please get in touch with us at (973)-774-7222, and we will discuss our treatment programs.

We wish you all a happy sober holiday season!

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