During the holiday season, you may either experience feelings of being too busy or being too lonely. The holiday season tends to be more complicated than the rest of the year. When it comes to New Year’s Eve, there is even more added pressure. Some of this pressure may be centered around drinking alcohol at parties. Even if most or all of your social gatherings are going to be online this year, you may still be tempted to get yourself a drink or pursue the substance of your choice.
The other challenge of New Year’s Eve is making resolutions. The idea of resolutions not only places a significant amount of pressure on you to try to embark on some new journey, but they also tend to make people reflect on the negative aspects of themselves. They can be especially damaging to your recovery, as recovery is grounded in a systematic approach to promoting lasting change. This year, if you are stressing the holidays, especially New Year’s Eve, you can follow five steps to help you endure maintaining your sobriety and harbor tools that you can use long after the holiday season has come and gone.
Avoid Tempting Situations
By now, you likely understand the risks that come with attending social settings that involve alcohol and other drugs. Knowing where you are in recovery will help you decide whether you can handle a situation where substances are present. However, sometimes you may think you are proving a point to yourself and friends you can be around substances. This kind of behavior can be particularly dangerous. While you might be able to say “no” at the moment, you might carry the thought of wanting to drink or use drugs long after.
Instead, try to avoid situations where you know substances will be present. Bringing yourself into these environments can be uncomfortable, distressing, and even bring on triggers that leave you in a negative headspace. The better approach might be to politely decline to be present for the New Years’ bash. Instead, consider setting aside time with close friends and family to connect and catch up in a setting that does not allow for temptation.
Maintain a Positive Social Network
If most of the friends you socialize with are friends you used to drink and use with, it might be time to make friends, family, and members from your support groups your primary crowd. Surrounding yourself with people that understand your addiction and support your sobriety will not only help you maintain a substance-free lifestyle but can significantly reduce the stress that comes from being in stressful social settings.
When you maintain contact with your support system, you develop trust. Such trust makes it easier to reach out in times of need. Your support system can help keep you motivated and accountable during recovery and allow you to sever the ties you have with friends that are still using.
You may find it challenging to let go of old friends. You might consider changing your number, deleting their numbers, and creating new social media profiles. This way, you can begin to focus on building healthier relationships. Having a strong support system is an essential tool for recovery. Remember, however, stressed you might become this holiday season, reaching out to your closest friends and family that understand you will help reduce your anxiety and stress. Never distance or isolate yourself.
Create a Healthy Schedule
Amid the pandemic, it might seem like all you are doing is changing and adapting to schedules. However, it might be necessary to create a new schedule for the holiday season and re-establish what is most important to your recovery. These daily schedules should allow ample time for work, socializing, exercising, eating, meetings with counselors, leisure, and time for self-care. Focusing on the essentials helps to maintain a structure. It enables you to decide whether you can or even desire to take on responsibilities that might cause unwarranted stress to your recovery. When it comes to recovery, there is no selfish act. Your sobriety comes first. Additionally, keeping a consistent schedule builds confidence and should lend enough insight into who you are.
Don’t Become Complacent
While maintaining a good schedule is essential, you will want to remember to set goals and challenges within those time frames to keep growing. Goals can include excelling at work to get that promotion or spending time practicing a hobby. You can also challenge yourself during exercise and mindfulness practices.
While motivation might seem abundant after initial treatment, it can wane as the days, months, and years pass. It is vital not to take anything for granted or deem certain aspects of your recovery as unnecessary. While the holidays might offer an excuse to get lax and overindulge in sweets, shopping, and even considering a drink, understand that such choices could lead to weeks or months of feeling like you are trying to catch up to where you were in your recovery before the holidays.
Relapse is Not Failure
Understand that mistakes happen. If a mistake results in a relapse, do not view this as a failed recovery. Focusing on the negatives will cause you to forget all the hard work and all the days you spent sober. Recognize this as a mistake and try to learn from it. Why did you behave this way? What happened to trigger this behavior? Once you understand this mistake and evaluate why you can use this as motivation to move forward to getting back to your recovery. While you might think relapse is not an option and won’t happen to you, it is essential to realize that relapse can happen to anyone. Be honest and kind to yourself if a relapse occurs.
The holiday season can be a great time to reconnect with family and friends you have not seen. However, the holiday season could also be a stressful endeavor, and you’re going to want to prepare. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, you may still have the urge to use substances. New Year’s Eve is a time known for using drugs and alcohol, and internet parties to not exempt you from temptation. If you are finding it challenging to manage your recovery, it is time to get help. At True Recovery, we assess and treat the individual needs of each patient. This approach offers our patients the best opportunity to gain the tools needed to maintain recovery long after treatment – and this certainly is the ultimate goal. We are also complying with the requirements resulting from the pandemic and continue to provide 24/7 availability, so there is never an excuse not to reach out. To learn more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.