We see an increase in addiction challenges during the holidays. Let’s talk about what you can do to increase your chances of staying sober, or to ensure your moderation plan stays on track.
- WHO: Stay vigilant about who you hang out with. Are there people that tempt you into bad behaviors? Are there key relationships that are particular triggers for you?
- WHEN: There are certain days of the week when people like to let loose. Friday evening is the obvious one. People are done with work and just want to relax and let go. If there is a particularly vulnerable day of the week for you, plan healthy alternatives during those days. How about making Friday night your netflix night? Perhaps the holidays are particularly difficult, or a key anniversary. Plan ahead of time before that day comes.
- WHERE: Just like the day of the week, there is also a place that you go where all bets are off. During the holidays, people make trips back home, or to that certain friend’s house. Plan ahead of time. If at all possible, avoid trigger places or places that give you access to those things you are trying to avoid. Sometimes, however, it is inevitable. That annual trip home with the family can often be a tough environment to manage. Create a supportive friend circle and stay in touch with them while on that trip. Have them check in on you. Ask for help from then to hold you accountable ahead of time.
- WHAT: Think of what you can do ahead of time to avoid temptations. Take a favorite book. Find a new hobby that can keep you engaged. If you are attached to your cellphone, download a new app that can create a healthy distraction. Plan your days ahead of time so that you can have healthy activities timed properly. Maybe going home for the holidays is a trigger for you. But how about visiting some childhood spot like a favorite movie theater, or a local attraction? Spend time around places that you associate with loving and caring moments in your life.
We hope everyone enjoys the holidays and remind you to plan ahead, be safe, and keep your commitments to recovery. As always, if you need some expert advice, you may reach out to us for consultation. We find group therapy, such as our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) to be particularly effective during this period as many other participants are dealing with similar challenges and you have get great support and ideas from each other.
All the best.