Between gift giving, celebrations, and time with family, the holidays are stressful. And, for everyone. Those who are recovering from addiction may find it harder. With an amplified social calendar, money spent on gifts, and spending time with loved ones, we can forget to think about ourselves. What is supposed to be a time full of love and cheer can turn into stress and dismay if the appropriate steps aren’t taken. There are many ways to celebrate the life God has given us and honor the birth of Jesus while avoiding relapse.
Have a Plan
“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.”
The holidays are a celebration of our Lord Jesus Christ. We honor Him and his teachings through month-long celebrations with friends and family. The hardest part of staying sober during the holidays is not having a plan. Maintaining sobriety is possible if you can identify your triggers and decide in advance what steps to take if you are confronted with them. Factors include who, what, and where. So, be prepared for all. Celebrations with friends, families, and coworkers could include substances that might lead to a relapse. If you are going to a party bring a companion who can help you stay on track. If it’s possible, try bringing your own car. In the instance that the party becomes a trigger, you can hop into your ride rather than waiting on someone else.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to do it.”
The celebration of Christ continues with your good faith in others and taking the opportunity to give back to your community. God has called on us to give unto others. Participating in charity during the holidays is a preventative step for relapse and our calling. As you move through the rehab program, we come to understand that the success of our sobriety falls on our ability to give back and help others. There are numerous ways you can do this. Reach out to a local shelter, work with your church, or agree to be a sober companion for another fellow man who is also going through the program. Giving back takes courage. Look for ways you can be of service to others, and you will feel rewarded with His love and know you have done your part for the community.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test what God’s will is: his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Romans 12:2 NIV
Practicing self-care is one of the easiest ways to bring us closer to God. He is the one who brings us fulfillment, and by caring for ourselves, we are showing him our satisfaction. Start by treating your body with healthy nutrition. Feed yourself whole foods and make sure you are getting at least eight hours of sleep every night. Light and gentle exercise will clear your mind and help you focus on the meaning of this time of year. Self-care also means practicing your boundaries and saying “no.” It’s not always easy to turn down friends or loved ones. But, your hard work towards sobriety deserves to be celebrated. There are ways to gently turn someone down if you are unable to commit to a party or event because the situation might cause triggers. You can practice in advance what you might say. Although it will feel silly to say this out loud to yourself, it will help it sound relaxed and natural when you have to put it into practice.
Know Your Triggers
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
Everyone has triggers. Know them, and you will find success. Call on His strength to help guide you and understand that He will be with you every step of the way. If there are people or places that trigger negative behavior write them down. Are there dates during the holidays that present problems? Write them down too. Keep them on a list close to you or share them with a trusted companion. Reclaim your power by being present and knowing what experiences might have a negative effect on your sobriety. Recognize your thought patterns and feelings associated with what is written on the list. It will help you in a couple of different ways. One, you can start to recognize negative thinking and two it will help you practice what we previously mentioned saying “no” when it matters most.
Sobriety for the New Year
After the celebrations of Christ’s birth, our focus turns to the new year and what it will bring. New life changes have different success rates on those who are on the path of sobriety. You are never alone in His love or with the support from S2L. There is always hope. If you or a family member is struggling with addiction, we will be the support needed to find sobriety. Learn more about our program by visiting our website.