Though the risk of relapse runs high during the holidays, it is not inevitable. Your family, friends and recovery fellowship all want you to get through this holiday season clean and sober, and so do we! While COVID-19 has changed this holiday for most of us, we want you to know we’re thinking of you, and you are not alone. If you are in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction, there are steps you can take to stay healthy and safe. 

1. Be Aware of Your Triggers. Changes In Your Routine, Family, and Parties are big ones. And this year’s special – the stress of navigating a pandemic during an already stressful holiday season may be a trigger in and of itself. Be alert to these (and other) triggers and get extra support, take good care of yourself, and have a back-up/escape plan if you do go out to parties or visit with family. 

2. Avoid H.A.L.T. If you’re hungry, eat something. If you’re angry, reach out and talk to someone about it, go for a walk, or scream into a pillow. Just move the energy (without harming  yourself or anyone else). If you’re lonely, attend a Zoom meeting, call a friend, meet someone outside, or think of someone you could help. If you’re tired, prioritise a good night’s sleep and take naps.

3. Make New Holiday Traditions. You might be doing this anyway due to the pandemic – so make it extra fun! Set up an elaborate hot chocolate (or fancy coffee) making station in your kitchen; play a game via Zoom with friends or family, enjoy driving sober and go look at Holiday Lights in your area; plan to eat breakfast, have coffee, or make dinner with a friend via Zoom; or snuggle up and relax more than you usually let yourself (snuggly pets help)!

4. Make a 12 Gratitudes of Christmas List & Send Gratitude Notes to Others.

The quickest cure to the holiday blues is putting things in perspective, counting your blessings and being grateful for what you have. Try writing a list of things/people/pets you’re grateful for in your journal. You could try using colored pencils this time or even glitter pens! Be creative and make a 12 Gratitudes of Christmas List for yourself. 

Send Notes of Gratitude (or Encouragement) to Others. It boosts your mood and gives you a mini service opportunity when you send notes expressing your thanks to loved ones. Everyone enjoys mail – especially now when we can’t go out or get together like we’re used to – so sending a card/note/letter to those you care about lifts others’ spirits and your own. Buy a pack of cards from the store or make your own cards at home.

5. Stay Connected! While many of your holiday plans may have been altered or drastically changed due to COVID, it’s vital to stay connected. Addiction is a disease of isolation and just because we’re socially distant doesn’t mean we have to be socially isolated. As much as you may be sick of Zooming, it is a great way to stay connected. Try to make Zooming more meaningful and fun – set up Zoom calls on different nights for catch-ups, plan remote dinners or play festive games with different groups of people. If you live alone or have a favorite baking partner who can’t join you this year, plan a recipe in advance and bake at the same time over Zoom. Your houses will both be filled with the same yummy scents and you can play holiday music in the background for ambiance. 

If you don’t want to Zoom, try talking on the phone, FaceTimeing, or texting sober people or friends and family you trust. Make a list of seven people you can call, including your sponsor if you have one. Keep this list with you at all times and call at least one person a day. (The phone really isn’t 1,000lbs – you can do this!).

Be Gentle With Yourself

You don’t need to be told that this can be an extra hard time of year for everyone – especially if you’re trying to get or stay sober. Remember to be compassionate with yourself and put your self-care at the top of your priority list. If you do relapse, it’s OK. Just get back up and reach out for support. Tell someone you’re struggling and keep connecting with people who support your sobriety. One slip doesn’t have to turn back into full blown using – you can get help and recover. Just don’t give up. 

We’re Here to Help 

We are dedicated to helping you with all aspects of recovery from alcoholism and addiction. We offer a full range of services for those who are struggling with alcoholism and for the family members who love them. We also offer options for those who need or are looking for more structured care such as our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) or our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) (Most major insurance plans are accepted for our IOP and PHP).

We invite you to call us at 832-928-0211 with any questions you may have or for a free 15-minute consultation. This is a hard time for everyone, You’re not alone. We’re here for you.

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