For someone who just came out of rehab, going through the holidays without relapsing can be a challenge. You have to deal with family interactions, some of them intense and strained. The following tips can help you endure the holidays while still keeping your sobriety and commitment to a life-long recovery.
Holidays like Christmas provide people a great opportunity to be with family and friends. Many are looking forward to the holidays because of this. However, as a recovering addict, you may just not feel the sentiment. At least not yet.
Maybe you still have unfinished business with a family member whom you have wronged during your active addiction. Then, there are family members who may just seem to awkwardly ask you about everything.
In fact, you may be depressed during Christmas as this brings back so many dark memories. Even some family members may still feel the same way because of what you did when you were in active addiction, and this makes you feel sad too.
Here are some tips to help you get through the holidays without relapsing:
Tips to Make it Through the Holidays Without Relapsing
1. You don’t have to do it. Right now, the most important thing is your recovery. So if going out to meet some family can lead to triggers for relapse, you don’t have to go. Some of your family members may not understand, but surely there will be those who do. Just remember to put your recovery first.
2. Set boundaries. Take control of the situations around your family during this holiday season. You can ask the help of close family members to help you with this. For example, you can ask them to tell other guests not to serve alcohol and not bring alcohol to the party. You can also ask them to tell the guests not to talk about things that will make you feel uncomfortable.
3. You can leave when you want to. If there’s something you feel will trigger you, remove yourself from the situation.
4. Have an escape route. If things get too intense, have an escape plan. This can be a recovering buddy’s house, a hotel room, or just anywhere that will make you feel safe. At Bridges of Hope, all our program completionists have a lifetime privilege of having our so-called “halfway house” to go to when they get overwhelmed.
5. Bring someone you love and trust. If you’re going to a party, have a trusted friend or partner to help you handle situations or just to be there to support you.
6. Remember you’re in control. You’re responsible for your own life.You’re in control of your own emotions and thoughts, so take ownership of what you feel and your own actions.
7. Holidays can be hard for them too. Remember that this season can be hard for other family members too, so be sensitive to their feelings as well.
8. Remove yourself from conflicts. If things take a turn for the worse and an altercation with a family member happens, leave. Go to a safe space in your home or be with your trusted family member, or even go to your escape plan. Remove yourself from situations that may trigger you.
9. Manage your expectations. When you’ve just gotten out of rehab, you feel renewed and ready for what’s ahead. However, you may fail to see that your family remains the same with its issues and weaknesses. People with addiction often come from dysfunctional families and your own may still be stuck in the same negative patterns. Just remember that what they are is not about you and they’re responsible for their own life.
10. Go easy on yourself. The holidays can be hard for everyone. This time of the year can be most vulnerable to them. Have compassion for them and for yourself. Go easy on yourself and those in your family.
And remember, you’re not alone in your journey. There are millions of people around the world who are going through the same thing as you. They’re working towards a full and life-long recovery. You will make it through the holidays without a relapse.
For help with addiction treatment, call or text us at Bridges of Hope: 09175098826.