7 Helpful Tips for Protecting Your Sobriety This Holiday Season

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Like everyone, people in recovery look forward to the holidays. We get excited to visit far-flung family members, decorate the house, and exchange gifts. However, this time of year can also be a bit nerve-wracking for those in sobriety. We’ve put together some of our top tips for protecting your sobriety this holiday season.

1. Take Care of Yourself This Holiday Season

You can’t feel good mentally if you don’t take care of yourself physically. The holidays are famously indulgent times, full of rich foods and irregular schedules. If you’re in recovery, this inconsistency (combined with a poor diet) can have a serious impact on your mental health. Be sure that you’re getting enough sleep and good-for-you nutrients to get through the day.

2. Find Support for Your Sobriety

Whether you’re with your loved ones or spending some time alone, be sure that you’re in contact with a sober friend or sponsor during the holiday season. They can help you to check any impulses or irrational thoughts that crop up in the coming weeks. They’ll also be honest with you about whether you need to take any extra steps to protect your sobriety.

3. Manage Your Expectations for the 2020 Holiday Season

If we’ve learned one thing in 2020, it’s that attitude is everything. If you have sky-high expectations for the holidays, you may be disappointed by changing plans or certain interactions. Avoid falling into negative thought patterns or expecting too much of your loved ones. They’re probably just as stressed as you are, and they may not always know the perfect thing to say. By staying grounded and planning ahead, you can prevent any catastrophizing or anxiety this holiday season.

4. Identify Triggers and Risks

You probably already know which people and places will present a challenge this year. For example, if you have an uncle with a drinking problem who will insist that you drink, try to remove yourself from events which include him. These interactions have the potential to open the door for rationalizations, like “Maybe I can handle alcohol in social situations after all. I have learned to control my drinking!” Avoid these temptations whenever possible.

5. Serve Others

The holidays aren’t just about family, presents, and traditions – they can also be an excellent opportunity to be of service. Donating to a women’s shelter, reaching out to a newcomer, or grocery shopping for a quarantined neighbor can all be great ways to embrace the spirit of charity during the pandemic.

6. Remember a Few Sober Life Hacks

Planning ahead can help you to successfully navigate holiday interactions. For example, many people practice bookending – calling someone in recovery before and after a difficult event. Others always bring their own alcohol-free beverage to a gathering, so that they have a drink in their hand; this stops people from offering you beer or liquor. If you’re in need of these pro tips, reach out to your sponsor or ask the question at your next 12-Step meeting. You may be surprised by the number of options available.

7. Ramp Up Your Recovery Efforts

Finally, if you know that this holiday season will be challenging for you, consider seeking additional help from AA, NA, and your treatment center. Whether you attend extra meetings, schedule therapy appointments, or even reenter rehab, putting your recovery first is the best plan for this time of year.

Pine Grove is Here for You This Holiday Season

If you need help navigating the holidays, we encourage you to call Pine Grove. Our team of credentialed professionals is standing by to support and heal you over the next several weeks.

At Pine Grove, we have created a treatment model that heals the whole person – not just parts of them. Our evidence-based programming can be tailored to people of all ages, from childhood to older adulthood. We offer both residential and outpatient treatment options depending on each person’s needs. Upon consultation, our staff will create a plan of care that is perfect for you.

For more information about our complete continuum of care, contact us today.

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