You are probably aware that Christmas is quickly drawing nearer. Are you prepared for what might be a stressful five days? Hopefully, you already have a schedule for sustaining your recovery through this most important holiday of the year. If not, fortunately, it’s not too late to begin preparing.
In November, we wrote to you about resisting the temptation to isolate during Thanksgiving. If you heeded the advice, then your recovery is probably still intact. Christmas is not different; stick close to your support network in the coming days and especially on Christmas Eve and Christmas.
At Hope By The Sea, we understand that many of you will be traveling next week. Being away from your support group is stressful for people in early recovery. Talk to your sponsor, ask them how to stay strong when you are away. Your sponsor will provide you with invaluable advice that should be heeded.
Going home for the holidays can place an enormous weight on the shoulders of people in recovery. While your family may be supportive of your sobriety, they may do and say things that make you want to escape. Wanting to get away is OK, but do not turn to chemicals as a means of escape. Drugs and alcohol will not help you in any way, shape, or form.
Leave the Party, Get to a Meeting
In early recovery, it’s vital to be proactive instead of reactive (easier said than done). In treatment, you learned skills for coping with uncomfortable situations; hopefully, you have put some of them into practice by now. You may have had to utilize them during Thanksgiving.
Addicts and alcoholics have notoriously thick skin; however, loved ones have a way of affecting them adversely. Men and women who are spending Christmas with their family, locally or away, must remember not to let things get under their skin.
The uncle who doesn’t understand how one can let alcohol take control of their life, the nosy aunt who wants to know what you are talking about at meetings. Both are examples of experiences that you might confront on December 25th. With that in mind, spend some time now formulating a script on how to respond to unwanted statements and questions.
Most importantly, never hesitate to leave a family gathering at a moment’s notice. You are not required to explain why you are going. Leave the party, get into your car or hail an Uber, and get to a meeting. You won’t have any trouble finding a meeting of recovery during Christmas; they will be held around the clock during the holiday.
When the going gets tough, be proactive, not reactive. If you feel stressed out, it will make you fragile and susceptible to relapse. Getting to a meeting will provide you the opportunity to decompress and return to the gathering stronger. Alternatively, you may decide to go back to your hotel and call it a night.
Keep your fingers on your recovery pulse; put your recovery first, and don’t worry about what your family thinks about your decision to leave. You can explain to your loved ones that your sobriety demanded that you take drastic measures to protect your progress when the time is right.
Wishing You a Merry Christmas
At Hope By The Sea, we would like to wish our alumni and everyone in the Fellowship a safe and sober Christmas. Please remember that you possess the skills and tools to help you manage the holiday without incident. Don’t forget to reach out to us if you need extra support; we are available 24 hours a day.