With the holiday season quickly approaching, for many of us our first thoughts are holiday parties, food, drinks, and just having a good time with family and friends. However, this can also be the time of year that can trigger someone in recovery to relapse if they don’t have the proper tools and strategies in place. It is easy to get caught up in the mix of all the holiday festivities, and for those in recovery that may not have the right tools to use. This time can be very trying, and detrimental to their sobriety. So, for those in recovery whether a loved one, or yourself. Here are a few things to keep in mind during this special time of year.


First, and foremost have sober strategies in place

If you are in recovery and planning on going to a holiday event or activity that could potentially trigger a relapse, plan ahead. Possibly go to a Twelve Step meeting before, or after the event, and if needed go to both. It may also be helpful to bring your sponsor, or a friend in recovery with you. Remember, an addict alone is in bad company. Have a support system, a friend in recovery that can be “on call” for you to check in with during the event. Finally, always have an exit strategy, that could mean bringing your own vehicle, figuring out the public transportation nearest to you. Whatever you choose, make sure it will enable you to leave if you’re feeling tempted or uncomfortable.


Know what your triggers are

It does not matter how long you have been sober, be aware of people, places, and things. The holiday season is full of possible triggers. If going to an event with family has potential for stress or arguments that may threaten your sobriety, difficult decisions may have to be made. You could limit your time to a couple of hours at these events or reframe from attending all together. Don’t be to hard on yourself, or ever feel obligated. You must do what’s healthiest for you, and your sobriety.


New Traditions

For many people the holidays all around can be triggers. You may fall back into old habits when it comes to holiday traditions. One way to avoid this is to create new traditions, try being of service step out of your comfort zone into the community, and help those less fortunate. Maybe offer to help serve a meal at a homeless shelter, spend more time with others in recovery and come up with your own holiday traditions. Reach out to a neighbor who may not have family around and share a meal together. The holidays are filled with endless opportunities for spiritual growth by sharing your gratitude and joy with others.


Having loved ones in recovery

If you are lucky enough to have a loved one in recovery, please just be mindful during this time of year. That does not mean you can’t have your annual holiday party, or family gatherings it does not mean your yearly traditions must stop. All this means is if they choose to respectfully decline an invite, leave early from a party, or offer a new tradition they would like to start. Just be kind and understanding, for some its easier to adjust in recovery. Others know to stay sober they have to change a lot of things. Not everyone’s journey in recovery is the same. Just love and support them, maybe even a little extra during the holiday season.


If you or a loved one is currently struggling with addiction, don’t wait reach out now!

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