The holidays offer plenty of time and opportunities for self-reflection. You may have time off around the Christmas season to reflect, or as New Year’s approaches, you may look back on your decisions over the past year.
As you review where you are and where you’ve come from, you may have mixed feelings about your recovery. Whether you’ve experienced a couple of relapses this year or you’re currently only a few days sober, it’s important to use this time to recommit to sobriety and choose a few ways to make the holidays manageable.
In this article, we’ll offer some tips for a sober holiday and tools for practicing gratitude in recovery.
Tips for a sober holiday
If the holidays are presenting obstacles to your sobriety, you may benefit from boosting your mood through gratitude and self-care practices. Check out these options to make your holiday run smoothly.
Let the festive season inspire generosity in your heart and find a way to help others who are less fortunate. Consider putting money towards a charity you admire or donating to a cause related to addiction recovery.
You can also help others in your own life, such as offering to put up lights for an elderly neighbor or wrapping gifts for a single parent. Look for other ways to help others in your life by listening to their needs and considering who needs an extra hand during the business of the season.
One of the best ways to see the bright side of life as the days get colder and darker is by acknowledging the good in one’s life. According to the Harvard Medical School, gratitude provides many benefits including more positive emotions, greater appreciation of experiences, improved health, increased ability to handle adversity and stronger bonds with others.
Gratitude offers many benefits, and it’s an easy daily practice to incorporate into your routine. Here are a few ideas to make thankfulness your interior disposition.
- Journal: write down five things you’re thankful for at the end of each day
- Chat about it: make a daily call to an accountability partner and share your highlights from each day
- Meditate or pray: mentally count your blessings every day
- Send a letter: write a note to someone who you are grateful for and express the ways he or she has changed your life
- Use gratitude prompts: find prompts online to direct your journaling, such as “I’m grateful for these five things I own…” or “I’m grateful for an experience from my past because…”
If you feel down during the holidays, gratitude is an excellent antidote to gloomy feelings.
Affirm someone who has helped you
In a season of giving it’s not always about the presents. Sometimes the ones we love value affirmation of our thankfulness more than anything money can buy. Use the holidays as an excuse to share your appreciation for those in your life, offering specific examples of ways they’ve helped in your life and your recovery.
Host a sober event
Celebrate your goals for sobriety by hosting your own event and inviting your network of support. A sober party is a great way to connect with others in recovery without inviting a temptation to use drugs or alcohol.
Volunteering for a warming shelter, soup kitchen, food pantry or similar service is an opportunity to appreciate the things you have in life and care for those who have less. A service opportunity can help you gain perspective on your blessings during the holidays.
Look for ways to help others through your local community center, place of worship or neighborhood outreach programs.
Take care of your body
Neglecting your body during the holidays by indulging in sweets or refraining from daily movement can harm your mood, your experience of the holidays and your success in sobriety. Feeling sluggish or crummy due to abrupt and poor diet changes could invite an occasion for relapse.
Ensure a sober holiday by taking care of your body with regular exercise, quality sleep and maintaining a relatively consistent diet. While partaking in festivities by consuming holiday meals and desserts is definitely something to enjoy, food cravings can sometimes trigger cravings for substance use, so be careful how you enjoy holiday delicacies.
The holidays can offer plenty of downtime, although the season often demands an atmosphere of hustle and bustle. Keep your engagements moderate so you still have time to relax. Make time to read a book, stretch, visit the gym or do other self-care activities that feel restful.
If you’re feeling unable to relax due to commitments, consider which are most likely to bring temptations to relapse. Choose to skip those and instead use the slot of time to prioritize your well-being by relaxing.
In case of a relapse
The holidays are a prime opportunity for showing gratitude, but celebrating can easily slip into an opportunity to drink or use drugs if you’re not watchful. If a relapse happens over the holidays, rest assured that your journey is not over. No person is ever “too far gone” to achieve lasting sobriety.
If you have relapsed or are in danger of slipping back into an addiction, the best thing you can do for yourself is to reach out to professional treatment. Even during the busy holiday season, it’s essential to prioritize your sobriety and intervening as soon as possible will make healing easier in the long run.
Practice gratitude in recovery and find peace over the holidays by reaching out to Silvermist Recovery. Private residential treatment on a sprawling 30-acre campus is sure to provide the setting you need to rest and recover. Contact Silvermist Recovery online today.