The holiday season is finally here, which means this hellish year is finally over. If you struggle with substance abuse, you already know that the holidays can make it more difficult to stay clean and sober, but the isolation and loneliness of quarantines and lockdowns will make this holiday season harder than ever. Have no fear and Merry Christmas you filthy animals, Transformations Care has got a gift for you: 10 tips to help you stay clean and sober during this especially hard holiday season:
1. Learn Relapse Prevention Techniques
A helpful way to stay sober during the holiday season is to learn about or refresh yourself on relapse prevention techniques. At Transformations Care, we use relapse prevention therapy groups, along with a combination of other therapies (music therapy for example), to set our clients up for success in living a happy life in recovery. Read a book on relapse prevention or give us a call! We’re more than happy to provide suggestions for other relapse prevention techniques and coping mechanisms.
2. Consider Service in Addiction Recovery
With the holidays comes time off from work (if you’re lucky). Being alone can be triggering on its own, but add in the restrictions of the pandemic and you’ve got a risk for relapse. So what’s the solution? Fill your down time — or rather, the time you’d be getting up to no good — with volunteering! Get into the altruistic spirit of the holidays and recovery by giving back to the community. Food pantries and homeless shelters need help now more than ever, and you’ll be building your self esteem while you’re at it.
3. Pursue Clean & Sober Holiday Activities
As the holiday season approaches, begin to make a list of holiday activities that don’t involve alcohol or drugs (watching Nightmare Before Christmas or driving around to look at holiday lights, for example). Better yet, think of an activity that’s unique to you and your partner to spark up your holiday season, like shopping for the funniest gift you can find (“As Seen on TV” anyone?). If holidays are filled with crappy memories, you’re not alone. Maybe you’ve spent years using drugs and alcohol in an attempt to numb the years of pain and trauma that in fact have been fueling your addiction. In recovery, you get a chance to create new memories of happiness and laughter. That’s what recovery’s all about.
4. Start Clean, Sober & COVID-friendly Holiday Traditions
Do most of your holiday traditions revolve around alcohol and drugs? For many struggling with substance abuse they do. Since this year will be different for everyone because of the pandemic, why not take advantage of the situation and think of new sober and COVID-friendly holiday traditions? Gift your partner with some inappropriate and hilarious Christmas PJs. Or, have a Zoom call with your family during Christmas dinner or dessert. Starting a new sober holiday tradition will help you look forward to every holiday season to come!
5. Prioritize Stress Relief & Self Care
Self-care is a powerful relapse prevention technique. When we forget about taking care of ourselves, we lose our everyday commitment to recovery and risk drinking or using to “get away from it all.” From dealing with the holiday stress to navigating the seasonal obligations that come with the holidays, self-care is the key. Take a step back and allow time for personal healing. Self-care can be anything from spending some quality time alone with yourself and binge watching your guilty pleasure, to seeking addiction treatment to get your life back on track. Give yourself the gift of self-care and reach out to us today.
6. Travel Safely During The Season
This holiday season, if you are traveling to spend time with loved ones, make sure to travel safely to prevent the risk of COVID-19 — and the risk of relapse. While protecting yourself from the pandemic with masks and social distancing, protect yourself from relapse by bringing a book about sobriety with you to your destination. You can also bring a physical reminder, such as an affirmation coin, to keep as a close reminder of living in recovery. Or, bring your entire fellowship support system by doing Zoom meetings from your weird aunt’s house you’re visiting! No matter what you do, keep your recovery close and you won’t lose track of it.
7. Find an Addiction Recovery Support Group
Another helpful way to stay sober during the holidays is by joining a substance abuse support group. You can find an emotional outlet and inspiration for living a life in recovery through AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), NA (Narcotics Anonymous), and many other alternative groups. Don’t know where to start finding a support group you’d like? Give us a call! We can help find the best meeting around you — even if it’s not AA or NA.
8. Stay Connected Virtually During the Holidays
Even if you don’t feel comfortable traveling to spend the holidays with loved ones or attending a support group in person due to the pandemic, you can use today’s technology to stay connected. Make it a goal during the holiday season to check in virtually with a clean and sober friend, a colleague, or a family member every day. Most addiction support groups now have virtual meetings you can attend, too! Staying connected decreases the risk of relapse during the holidays.
9. Prevent Relapse with Boundaries
At Transformations Care, our program teaches boundary setting as a helpful relapse prevention technique. Maybe spending holidays with certain relatives triggers PTSD related to childhood trauma, making you want to start drinking that alcoholic eggnog. Instead of feeling guilt-tripped by the obligation to spend weeks with your family, create healthy boundaries for yourself. Tell yourself you will only spend as much time as you feel comfortable to keep yourself in a healthy mental state and away from the bottle. In the beginning, that could be just one day or even just a few hours — or not at all! Do what you need to put your recovery first.
10. Get Addiction Help Sooner Rather Than Later
Finally, don’t wait until after the holidays to seek addiction treatment. Substance abuse is a never-ending downward spiral, but professional medical treatment will put an end to it. If you relapse, don’t be ashamed to get help again. Reach out to Transformations Care today to start your new life.
You can kick addiction’s @ss — with the right help. At Transformations Care, we use a dual-diagnosis approach to treat the years of trauma fueling your or your loved one’s addiction. By learning healthy coping mechanisms and relapse prevention techniques, you can begin to reconnect with yourself and renew your life through recovery. Begin your healing today and speak with our caring admissions team. They can provide you with more tips for staying sober during the holidays because they’ve been there too. Reach out to us today and spend your holidays in our homey Gardena treatment facility finally getting clean and sober.
Getting Clean & Sober at Home
Today, more than 75% of hospitals and healthcare providers offer access to telehealth treatment, with 29 states having gone so far as to enact telehealth parity laws, which force insurance companies to reimburse patients for telehealth at the same rates as they would for in-person treatment.
If you’ve been thinking about getting clean and sober, or if you’ve been wanting to work on and strengthen the recovery you already have, it’s never been easier to do it through telehealth.