It’s that time of the year again. Everyone is going crazy for the holidays, traffic is a nightmare, shopping can be stressful and to top it all off, family is in town and your uncle is having a little too much fun after football and a few drinks. Or mom and dad just had a huge fight at the table. Your brother or sister started old drama and now you are left at the table all by yourself.
Christmas time for someone that is in recovery or taking steps towards being sober can be extremely difficult with all of these triggers flying around at the speed of Santa’s sleigh at midnight on Christmas eve.
A Time for Caring, Sharing, and SPIRITS
Christmas time and the holidays in general are usually about spending time with family, and being grateful for everything you have. Sometimes its not all cheer and joy, especially for those struggling with addiction. Especially when a lot of holiday traditions involve alcohol, or trigger the use for drugs. Either way, its good to have a game plan in sight when you start to feel the urge to “fall of the wagon” with some excuse or general peer pressure from all of your friends and family participating. It’s hard to have to explain to everyone what you are going through, so these are some of the things you can do if you are looking to avoid the “Holiday Buzz”. Don’t be afraid to share your story or explain to your family members why, also don’t feel obligated. We all deal with our emotions differently when it comes to addiction. Do what makes you feel comfortable. Just avoid relapsing.
Think About How Far You Have Come
Regardless of what you have done, you are still here, alive and with plenty of options for you to enjoy life at the fullest! Here are some of my favorite things to do when the holiday triggers get a little too heavy, even for those who have been sober for years. Nobody’s perfect, but you do have the choice.
- Find a sober family member and take a walk. This is one of my favorites. Especially when visiting out of town, and the weather is cold!
- Hot chocolate by the fire. No fire place? There’s an app for that (hehe). No really, look it up. Or maybe bust out some old photo books, or tell some throw-back stories about what happened when you were kids.
- Movies with the family. Whether you go to a local theater, or enjoy them at home. Movies, especially classic Christmas comedy, horror, or family orientated are a great way to break the onslaught of holiday triggers.
- Play lots of games. Everything from video games, to board games with the kids. Partake and indulge. Even if its on your phone or tablet.
- Go on an adventure! Grab your favorite cousin, friend, or nephew/niece, and go on a Christmas treasure hunt. You can get really involved and plan it all out with gifts or, keep it simple and make it fun with anything you can find around the house, like a scavenger hunt. Maybe go grab a milkshake/dessert down the road, or do some last minute shopping. Even a holiday drive with some music can be the perfect thing to keep your mind off of drugs or alcohol.
- Exercise. Keeping active is the key to living a sober life. Go to the gym, or lift weights. Go for a job or a bike ride. Even push-ups and pull ups are a great way to stay fit, and active. After-all, you have been stuffing yourself on all the holiday food!
- Community work. Now is the perfect time to organize a little holiday giving with your family, and help the community. Make some food bags, or collect some old clothes and distribute them to the less fortunate. Maybe help clear mom’s garage of old stuff that nobody wants, and give to goodwill, or a local charity. Nothing says Merry Christmas and keeps you sober than helping those less fortunate than you.
The Most Important Thing to Remember…
Enjoy and Appreciate the Time with Your Family and Loved Ones!
These are only a few ideas for the holidays but there are many other things you can do during this season. Be creative and encourage other people in your peer group to join you in making others feel special.