Maintaining Sobriety During the Holidays and New Year

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC for Addiction Hope

man-407095_640Working to maintain your sobriety can be challenging on a daily basis. Recovery from addiction takes constant vigilance, effort, and awareness of yourself, your thoughts/beliefs, and your surroundings.

In order to protect your recovery, it is important to understand the types of scenarios and situations that trigger addictive thoughts and behaviors as well as having a plan to effectively cope with these triggers.

The Holidays Are a Difficult Time for Sobriety

The holiday season for many, is a time that brings about a variety of emotions and triggers. From hyper focusing on food and drinking, to gathering with family and friends, and everything in between, the holiday season can be an especially difficult time to maintain sobriety.

For these reasons, it is even more important to approach this season with consciousness and mindfulness of yourself and your surroundings. Even if you have been able to maintain sobriety for months, years, and through several holiday seasons, it is always helpful to refresh your perspective on upholding recovery.

Reflect on Your Recovery Process

A helpful place to begin is to reflect on where you currently are in your recovery process from substance abuse or alcoholism.

  • Do you still find yourself struggling with addictive thoughts and behaviors on a daily basis?
  • Are you actively abusing drugs and/or alcohol?
  • Are you suffering from severe mental and physical complications from substance abuse?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, it is crucial that you take necessary steps to begin sobriety. Consider reaching out to an addiction specialist you can begin to guide you through the process of becoming sober and ultimately, finding freedom from your addiction.

Get Needed Assistance from Professionals

surf-321358_640Health professionals can best assess your current situation and determine what levels of treatment or care are needed to help you heal from addiction. Having the assistance of professionals is needed, as addictions are complex.

Do not find excuses to go another day without getting the help you need. You will likely only continue to suffer and plummet down the chaotic spiral of addiction by trying to tackle these issues on your own.

Perhaps you are worried about missing out on school, a job, a family or career. While all these things are absolutely important, you cannot function at your full potential while dealing with the crutch of an addition. Even if that means you must take a temporary break from something in your life to begin treatment, you may be saving your life in the process.

Have a Constant Connection to Your Support

What if you are actively seeking treatment or have already gone through a treatment program and are preparing to approach the holidays? A key to maintaining sobriety is to have a constant connection to a support system and network of people who are keeping you accountable.

This can be members of an addiction support group, a trusted mentor, or close family and friends who understand your commitment to recovery. While the holiday season can be a busy and chaotic time, it is essential that you take the necessary time to regularly check in with your support team.

Purposefully taking time out to check in with others will keep your sobriety and recovery process at the forefront of your mind instead of letting it lapse to the backburner. This can also be a helpful time to analyze your own thoughts and emotions, discover how you doing, and practice self-care techniques.

Continue to Have Hope and Maintain Support

surfers-554355_640The holiday season has the potential to be a time for great joy and celebration. As an addict in the recovery process, this can also be a time of many triggers and overwhelming experiences.

Wherever you are in the recovery process from addiction, know that there is hope for you to preserve and uphold your sobriety through the holiday season and in any other time period of your life.

Most importantly, do not alienate yourself from people who love and care about you. Do not continue to believe the lies that your addiction has fed you or give up on yourself. By understanding your triggers and staying connected to a support system, you can have a strong foundation on which to build ongoing and lasting recovery from addiction.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Are you in recovery from substance abuse or alcoholism? What has helped you maintain sobriety through the holiday season?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 15th, 2015
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About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.