This article was written by James Malervy and published by RCA
This December, Recovery Centers of America is celebrating the holiday season with our “Thriving Through the Holidays” campaign. Join us as we share tips for enjoying the holidays while recognizing the importance of staying clean and sober.
Holidays may not seem so merry and bright when you’re in recovery, but you don’t have to feel overwhelmed. You can learn to navigate the holidays and share joyous moments with these helpful tips and tools.
1.) Plan Ahead
- Have a gameplan before attending parties or gatherings.
- Drive to parties. Arrive early and leave early.
- Take a sober companion to events if you need emotional support.
- Put your support group on speed dial and ask for help when you need it.
- Pay attention to relapse triggers and avoid stressful situations.
- Just say NO to alcohol or drugs. Saying no to harmful substances is saying yes to sobriety and your mental health.
2.) Stay Connected
- Your recovery is your top priority.
- Call at least one person in your recovery support system each day.
- Commit to attend in-person or virtual meetings regularly. Meeting Makers Make It!
- If traveling, make sure you attend meetings and stay close to your support network.
- If you need help, pick up the phone and call a support companion.
3.) Self-Care: Nourish Your Mind, Body & Soul
- Love yourself and value your worth.
- Surround yourself with a community of supportive people.
- Avoid people, places and things that don’t elevate your recovery.
- With family and more activities crammed into your schedule, make sure to take a few minutes of quiet time daily to recenter yourself.
- Feed your body and soul by taking a yoga class, a warm bath, meditating or walking.
4.) Eat Well to Be Well
- Eat Healthy Good Mood Food. Eating well is good for your physical and mental health.
- Don’t overload on sugar, carbs and foods that make you feel bad and depressed.
- Maintain healthy routine eating patterns.
- Don’t show up at an event overly hungry. Drops in blood sugar can make your tired and irritable.
- Eat mindfully. Less is more when it comes to sweets and treats.
5.) Avoid Triggers
- Preplan for success. Identify your triggers and have a plan to deal with emotions that may pop up unexpectedly.
- Don’t overload, don’t over-commit. People feel more stressed when they are out of a routine. Stick to a routine and stay on track.
- H.A.L.T: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. H.A.L.T is an acronym in recovery to help people recognize unbalanced states that could lead to triggers.
6.) Create new sober traditions during the Holidays
- Find new hobbies or activities that don’t involve harmful substances.
- Start a workout routine that supports your recovery and mental health.
- Host sober gatherings.
- Celebrate your new way of life by choosing new, healthier friends and activities.
7.) Give Back
- The best way to maintain your sobriety is by giving it away.
- Reach out to someone who needs help or volunteer at meetings.
- Remember, you get more from giving then getting.
8.) Have an attitude to gratitude
- Write down each day why you’re grateful.
- Pass the gratitude along by being kind to others.
- Be thankful for your sobriety.
- Celebrate your daily milestones.
9.) Be present
- Don’t project. Be fully engaged in the here & now.
- If you are feeling anxious, try one of RCA’s breathing bubbles or breathe slowly in-and-out.
- Detach from negative thoughts and feelings so you can be present.
- Focus on what’s great about your life today.
10.) Don’t Quit Before the Miracle
- Remember, every second sober is a miracle.
- If you fall, get up. There’s always something better ahead.
- Celebrate your achievements and focus on the rewards of recovery.
- Carry a message of hope to someone sick and suffering.
- Remember, take each day one step at a time.