As Christmas, New Year’s, and all the December holidays approach, for many Americans this is one of the year’s most festive and joyous times of the year. However, it can also be challenging for many people and families. Addiction, relapse, stress, anxiety and depression are all prominent this time of year. The stress of the holiday season can lead to binge drinking and drug abuse for someone struggling with a substance use disorder.
Additionally, it is challenging for anyone in recovery from addiction to maintain sobriety during this time of year. Fortunately, there are practical ways to succeed and stay sober in December and even into the new year.
The three most practical ways to remain sober involve having a well-thought-out plan, maintaining a high level of self-care, and having a solid support system. However, if you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, it is critical to receive help. The holiday season is the ideal time to attend a drug rehab program.
Holiday sobriety begins with a plan, which should include some of the following:
• Knowing how to identify triggers and what to do if you feel uncomfortable.
• Knowing how to turn down a drink or drugs and what to say if someone is persistent and does not take no for an answer.
• Having an exit plan or way to get home.
• Consider bringing non-alcoholic drinks or holiday mocktails.
“Essentially, this is a personalized holiday survival guide to help people in recovery or anyone choosing sobriety to maintain their sobriety throughout December and into the New Year,” said Marcel Gemme of Addicted.org.
The second part of a holiday sobriety plan involves self-care. Individual well-being is often overlooked during the holiday season. The acronym HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) is an excellent way to remember what to do.
Stay well-fed with good food during Christmas and other holidays and avoid binging on holiday sweets. When hunger hits, do not ignore it, as it can add to the stress. Also, do not ignore negative emotions such as anger and frustration.
Acknowledge these emotions and find effective ways to manage them in a healthy way. Stay connected with other people, such as friends and family, and avoid being alone during the holidays. Loneliness significantly contributes to stress, anxiety and depression.
Finally, get adequate sleep at night; this is often something most people tend to overlook during Christmas and New Year’s. Getting between six to eight hours of sleep each night is critical to reducing stress, anxiety, depression and cravings.
The final part of holiday sobriety involves having an adequate support system, for example, 12-step meetings, sponsors, family members, or friends. It is also recommended to bring a sober friend to a holiday party.
Stay focused on the true meaning of the holiday season; giving and giving thanks. There are ups and downs during this time of year but embracing gratitude should be a priority.
Moreover, enjoy this time of year and help spread joy, compassion, kindness and love. Create new memories and take part in new sober holiday traditions.
article by Las vegas sun