This holiday season is especially unprecedented as we navigate through a global pandemic. This pandemic has taken lives and livelihoods and has severely damaged the economy while testing everyone’s mental health and sobriety. Addiction recovery during the holidays can be especially challenging as holiday parties and alcohol often surround us and this holiday season is no different. This holiday season, we are told to stay home, avoid family gatherings but now restaurants and stores are delivering alcohol to our doorsteps, making the temptation to drink even greater, especially if we are struggling with loneliness and depression. Staying home for the holidays can be challenging, especially for those who usually spend this time of year gathering and celebrating with loved ones. After all, we as humans are social creatures and we need to be around others for our mental and emotional wellness. This time of year is also difficult for those who are struggling with loss, financial hardships, and strained family relationships as the holiday season can be a reminder of all of these things. So how can we take better care of ourselves during this holiday season while living this pandemic?
Holiday survival guide for addiction
Addiction recovery and the holidays can be a challenging combination, especially if we are struggling with isolation, depression, and recovery. However, with the right mindset, healthy coping tools, and support groups; we can learn to adapt and grow during this time of year.
Your sobriety is your priority: Your recovery is a lifelong process and is the most important aspect of your life. As a result, you must continue to honor your recovery by working the steps, connecting with strong role models, leaning on your support system, and eliminating any distractions or negativity that can interfere with your sobriety. This also means taking care of your mental health as mental health and addiction often go hand-in-hand. Take notice of your emotions and thoughts as you move through this holiday season. If you find that you are having troubling thoughts and negative emotions, write them down and try to find a pattern of any underlying triggers. It could be stress, negative people in your life, putting yourself in unhealthy situations, or loneliness.
Stay in treatment: Maybe you finished your detoxification and inpatient treatment and are on the road to recovery or maybe you are still in treatment. Regardless of where you are on your recovery path, it is important to continue treatment whether it is outpatient teletherapy treatment once a week, outpatient group treatment, or residential treatment. Keeping in contact with your addiction or mental health therapist can help you brush up on your coping skills and the tools you need to be successful in recovery, especially around this time of year. The holiday season, especially this year, is not the time to take a break from treatment, regardless of where you are on your recovery journey.
Get connected: Your support group is extremely important throughout your recovery process and even more so during this holiday season. Lean in on your friends, family, and fellow recovery peers for advice, comfort, and companionship. Engaging with a community recovery group is also helpful to connect with like-minded individuals who are going through a similar journey. During this pandemic, take advantage of virtual technology to engage with your support group and your friends. Programs such as FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, and other free video calling platforms are important to be able to connect with individuals face-to-face while you are sheltering at home during this pandemic.
Get outside: Mother Nature is healing and spending time outdoors can help clear your mind and gain focus. Whether it is taking a walk, having a social distance picnic gathering at a park, camping, skiing, hiking, or going for a bike ride or run; take time each day to get outdoors. If you combine physical fitness with outdoor activity, that is even more beneficial as moving your body is a healthy coping skill that can help you in your recovery. Spending time outdoors has been shown to reduce depression and anxiety and be a form of meditation.
Quest 2 Recovery: Center for Addiction and Mental Health
As treatment professionals, it is our job to reach out to those who are struggling this holiday season and throughout this pandemic. Addiction recovery during the holidays is important not only for your sobriety but also for your mental health. If you are struggling with a mental health or substance use disorder, we want to help you. We at Quest2Recovery, want to treat you, the individual, and not just your disorder. We want to break the mold, set the standard, and be role models for the rest of the addiction treatment industry. We want to invite you to seek help in a compassionate, non-judgmental environment.