It’s no secret that maintaining long-term addiction recovery is difficult, but it can be even more challenging during the holidays. We are entering a time of year when family get-togethers, office parties, drinking and celebrations can create a stressful time for people in recovery – especially those new to recovery. Thanksgiving begins this season and can be a very challenging time due to the expected family interactions which might force discussions about one’s addiction, treatment or recovery. This negative stress can have an impact on feelings and emotions and can provide a challenge to one’s recovery.
But what better time to express your gratitude and thanksgiving for the strides you have made. Focusing on the important things in your life and what you are thankful for can improve your outlook. Think about how far you have come in your recovery and the important work that you have done. Many times, individuals do not give themselves enough credit for their hard work and, during times of possible stress, can relapse and feel they have failed.
Also, there are some suggestions to get through the stress of the holidays. First of all, think about the past and what made you uncomfortable and find new ways of coping. Develop a strategy that makes you more comfortable – maybe you need to limit your time and preplan an exit strategy. Have your natural supports and recovery friends available. And decide what is important to you and what makes you happy and grateful.
For those not yet in recovery, the holidays is not the time to put off treatment just because you may miss being with family. What better time to make this difficult decision and the best way of giving yourself and your family the gift of recovery and the most gratifying step for which to be thankful.