To some, the month of December is the most wonderful time of year. But it’s not this way for everyone, especially those who are going through drug or alcohol recovery in Denver. For them, the holidays bring up memories of getting drunk, staying up late, or making a spectacle at family events from over-indulging.
However, when you’re sober, you can’t just take the night off to drink. This could damage your recovery and the progress you’ve made so far. So how can you stay clean over the holidays while still enjoying yourself and your loved ones? We have ten essential tips for you below.
1. Remind yourself why staying sober is important to you.
People sometimes have mixed emotions about sobriety. One minute, you might feel good about being sober. But other times, you might feel like you’re missing out. This is normal, so let yourself feel these emotions, but try not to dwell on them. Instead, remind yourself why you got sober in the first place.
If you can, write down the reasons why you entered outpatient rehab in Denver and the benefits you have gained. Carry this with you so that you can read it when you need the reassurance. This will help you handle the temptation that arises over the holidays. You may not be able to go out and get drunk, but at least you are here to enjoy the season.
2. Make your recovery a priority.
Start the season off right by making a commitment to your sobriety. When you allow your sobriety to guide your choices, you’ll end up making smarter decisions. By now, you already know what will happen if you fall back into using drugs and alcohol.
Putting your recovery first. You have the right to make decisions for yourself. It doesn’t matter what other people think or want – you’ve put in the hard work to get clean and sober and now you get to make decisions that will keep you healthy. You have to take care of yourself first. Period.
3. Choose holiday festivities wisely.
Occasionally, there will be holiday festivities that you want to attend, even though there will be drugs or alcohol. Ask yourself honestly if it’s worth the risk. It’s best to steer clear of places with triggers. If possible, try to see friends and family virtually. You don’t even have to tell them anything else except that you are most comfortable seeing them this way (which is preferred with COVID-19).
4. Plan an escape route.
Even if you do see family and friends virtually, it’s still important to have an escape plan. Things can turn stressful or triggering at any point in time, and you don’t want to risk your recovery over a drinking game or family argument.
Create an escape plan that you’re comfortable following. This could be as simple as driving yourself so you can leave when you want, having a trusted friend on call or having a backup plan (even if it’s just an excuse).
5. Spend more time with sober influences.
If the holidays are triggering for you, don’t spend more time with people and places that are going to bring back memories of getting drunk or high. Surround yourself with positive influences such as members from your 12-step groups. In fact, you may want to attend more 12-step meetings right now to keep yourself grounded. If this is your first holiday season sober, the other members can offer some helpful tips.
6. Create new traditions to enjoy.
When you get sober, there are going to be traditions that you can no longer participate in. Whether it’s getting drunk on New Year’s Eve or drinking a bottle of wine while cooking, these traditions need to be swapped out with new things.
There is so much change happening with the pandemic that now is a great time to establish new traditions. You may find it best to stay in and order Chinese food on Christmas Eve. Starting new traditions will embrace your sober lifestyle and give you different things to look forward to.
7. Continue taking care of your mental and physical health.
During the holidays, it’s common for people to get lax about their diet and exercise. While other people can do this and get back into the swing of things in January, you might veer off track with your drug or alcohol recovery in Denver.
Make sure that you are taking care of your emotional and physical health by practicing good self-care. Follow your same routine, get enough sleep at night, eat nutritious foods and exercise. Bottom line: Don’t get complacent in your recovery.
8. Give back to others.
Volunteering your time throughout the year is an important thing to do because you can make a difference, find your greater purpose and keep a healthy perspective on life’s problems. But there’s never a better time to do this than the holidays.
During December, volunteer opportunities are plentiful and more people are in need of time and monetary donations to make their holidays happy. Find nonprofit organizations in your area that could use your help. Whether it’s collecting food, wrapping presents or walking dogs at an animal shelter, your time and talents can go a long way this holiday season.
9. Manage your stress levels.
Managing stress is always a challenge, and this is especially true during the holidays. This is the time of year when people extend themselves financially, emotionally and physically in order to please others and fulfill holiday expectations.
Thankfully, you do not have to over-extend yourself to have a happy holiday. When you’re stressed, your brain releases cortisol, which can trigger you to want to drink or use drugs. Manage your stress levels by choosing your activities wisely and practicing good self-care.
10. Keep in tune with your feelings.
Finally, make sure to keep in tune with your feelings. Write in your journal, practice gratitude and continue going to therapy and 12-step meetings. Don’t lose yourself in the holidays. This is only a temporary time and certainly not a representation of what the rest of the year looks like. Stay grounded and remember that this season is for gratitude and giving – not receiving and showing off.
Our Rehab Facilities in Denver Remain Open During the Holidays
The holidays can be stressful, but it’s important to know that you are never alone. Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado remains open during the holidays. If you need us at any time, give our admissions department a call and we’ll be happy to help. Our holistic outpatient rehab in Denver makes it easy to get the help you need in a practical, affordable way.