How your sober support network can help during the holidays
The holidays are upon us, meaning there are many opportunities to hang out with friends, family and enjoy the season. But for people in recovery, this time of year can be challenging without a plan. Family dysfunction, friends who still drink or use, or triggering memories can all come to the surface and feel like they’re putting your recovery at risk.
But the holidays can be a time of celebration and reflection. Take a moment to make sure you’re surrounding yourself with people who know about and understand your recovery. You’ll realize who is here to support you and who isn’t. Whether you find support from family, friends, or a mentor, stick with those who value your recovery as much as you do.
Here’s how to lean on your support network during the holidays:
Get togethers are wonderful for the soul. But, it’s important to remember to choose events that are healthy for you and your recovery. Think before you RSVP about whether or not this gathering or event will be beneficial to your recovery — you need to make sure to put the right social network in your life that will be able to support you, and it’s your choice of who you put in that sober support network.
Although it might seem nerve wracking, have an open conversation with the people in your life about your recovery. Tell your family and close friends how they can support you and what tools or recovery strategies help you most. Remember, people aren’t mind readers, and they won't know how to help unless you tell them. You might even find it’s easier to write an email or send a short text, and you can do that, too.
Keep hitting meetings.
If you’re traveling for the holidays, it might seem like an easy choice to sacrifice your sober support meetings. But whether you attend AA, NA or Celebrate Recovery, it’s common for these meetings to be found all across the country. So if you’re traveling...keep going to meetings. And better yet? Find the meetings you want to attend, write them down and plan them on your schedule before you leave home.
Ultimately, during the holiday season, remember that the only person you can control is you. Practice focusing on yourself and continue putting your recovery first. Try to avoid heavy conversation topics and keep things light at celebrations. You can even try a simple “for today” mantra: “For today, I am putting my recovery first. I am choosing to stay out of conflict and will continue making the necessary steps to putting recovery into practice.”
Lean on your people and your recovery network. When you do, the holidays can be a time of fun, celebration and reflection, where you can remember all you’ve achieved and think of all of the hope ahead of you.