The holidays of Thanskgiving, Christmas, Kwanza, Hannukah and New Year are upon us, and that brings up all types of euphoric recall, confronting us with triggers. Therefore, it’s an important time to take stock of the vitality of our recovery and how to fortify it while going through this exciting but challenging time of the year.
1. Plan ahead. We do this before we go on a trip, prepare for a hurricane, or even go shopping. Doesn’t your recovery deserve the same kind of attention? Practice the polite “no, thank you” to protect yourself during the ho-ho-holiday season.
2. Write a speech about sobriety. You won’t necessarily be delivering it to anyone but yourself. However, it’s critical to remind yourself of all the benefits, every now and then.
3. Bring along recovery materials. Athletes play their favorite music while waiting for game time or the starting buzzer. Motivation is a hugely helpful X-Factor, like a built in fan base for recovery.
4. Create new traditions. There may be some old ones you can’t avoid, like aunt Gertie’s fruit cake, but do your best to otherwise party with others also in recovery. These friends are your safe harbor during the holiday storm.
5. Don’t go it alone. More people contemplate depressing thoughts during this time of year. It’s much tougher to be depressed when you are around supportive friends and family. Reach out and keep in touch.
6. Volunteer. There’s nothing that can make you as cheery, as spreading the holiday cheer. Help at a soup kitchen, wrap toys for tots or go with a community group to comfort the elderly. Trust me, give and ye shall receive.
7. Know thy meetings. Whether it’s an APP that increases awareness of 12 step meetings in the area, or gatherings of sober friends, we travel during the holidays and aren’t always on our home turf. However, support is all around us no matter where we go. Seek and ye shall find.
8. Consider a sober vacation. This is a popular alternative popping up more and more to cater to our unique requirements in recovery. Search online or even call a travel agent (yes, they still exist). It will help you fly straight into a Happy New Year.
9. Stay sharp. Get a haircut, dress up and try a new perfume or cologne. When we dress to impress, we set off a whole bunch of happy hormones to make us feel better about ourselves and pass that sensational feeling along to others as we power through the holidays.
10. Create a holiday gratitude list. Seriously, I know it can be sad at times. It’s easy to get side-tracked. Stop! Shake yourself out of the doldrums by reminding yourself of all the wonderful things in your life. There is so much to be thankful for.