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staying sober during the holidays

8 Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

8 Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

Although the holidays can be a fun time, recovering from substance abuse can put a damper on the festivities. It’s common for people to throw parties and serve alcohol or to have family gatherings that cause a great deal of stress. Staying on your path of addiction recovery at this time of year can be a real challenge as you navigate these situations. To get through this season successfully without relapsing, here are eight tips for staying sober during the holidays.

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  1. Surround Yourself with People Who Support Your Recovery

Support is crucial to a person in recovery at any time of the year. However, the holidays can be extra challenging. Surrounding yourself with family and friends who love you and who are wiling to help you remain sober will make things easier. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask your close family and friends to help keep you accountable to your recovery. Most importantly, do not isolate yourself. This may only cause depression or relapse.

  1. Choose Holiday Parties Wisely

There are always a number of holiday parties you can attend during the holiday season, most of which will offer substances that you have worked hard at removing from your life. Even though you have started recovery from addiction, you do not have to decline all of the offers that you are given. However, it is smart to choose the ones where alcohol will not be the center of attention.

Avoiding gatherings that provide the greatest temptations will make things easier for you. Realizing that a few hours of partying are not worth ruining your sobriety is vital. Make sure to arrive with a plan so that you can leave when the urge to drink becomes too strong. You should come with a trusted friend who will agree not to drink as well. Make plans ahead of time not to rely on others for transportation. This will keep you from getting into uncomfortable situations.

  1. Keep Attending Meetings and Staying Sober During the Holidays

Although the holiday season is busy, it is not the time for you to take a vacation from your recovery process. Besides surrounding yourself with family and friends, it is important to keep attending regular sobriety meetings. Even if you are away from home for the holidays, it is possible to find and attend a local meeting in the area. Support groups contain people who are going through the same challenges. You can work together and help each other get through the holidays without relapsing.

  1. Give Back

Your recovery is like a rebirth. A way to make the most of this gift is to give back. Helping others during the holiday season is an effective way to remain sober as well. Your community is probably looking for volunteers to help serve a meal to the hungry or to decorate various parts of your town. These activities will give you purpose and will make you feel good about helping others. Lending a hand to other individuals is a way to show thanks for the people who have helped you along your sober journey.

  1. Be Honest with Yourself

Many recovering individuals are too confident in their abilities to remain sober at all times. However, even the strongest person can succumb to temptation. Do not think that it is possible to avoid relapsing when you are placing yourself in situations where alcohol is flowing. If you are at a party or event where most people are getting buzzed, you will likely fall victim to relapse. Although it is important to socialize during the holidays, it is vital not to make a habit of visiting bars or similar venues at this time of year. Being honest with yourself about your struggle with addiction is one of the best ways to fight against yourself.

  1. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is known to release endorphins in the brain. These endorphins make people feel happy and satisfied. This is why a person in recovery should establish a regular workout routine, especially during the holidays. Also, exercise can help you to clear your mind and to escape the chaos that the holidays may bring. Simply taking a walk to enjoy some Christmas lights can improve your mood and keep you away from triggers that can harm your recovery.

  1. Create New Traditions

If drugs or alcohol have haunted you for a long time and have prevented you from enjoying quality time with friends and family during the holidays, it may be nice to create new traditions. Now that you have decided to live a sober life, you will be able to spend memorable times with your loved ones. Host an alcohol-free decorating party or cookie exchange, plan a family game night, or go sleigh riding after you trim your tree. All of these activities can become a yearly tradition. They create positive feelings for everyone who is involved.

  1. Take One Day at a Time

Sometimes, people think too far into the future. As a recovering individual, it is essential to take one day at a time. Do not worry about the past or what is yet to happen. Live for the moment so that you enjoy a wonderful holiday season. Celebrate with family and friends without negative thoughts of relapse.

For more helpful tips to remain sober this holiday season, or to start your recovery journey, contact Desert Cove Recovery today.

Recovery Tips for a Drug-Free 2016

 New Year's Resolutions ListWhile innumerable people around the country are preparing for the new year with typical resolutions such as losing weight, exercising more, eating better or taking vacations, there are millions of Americans hoping to become drug-free in 2016.

Here are a few New Year’s recovery tips:

1. Decide – The first thing you have to do is decide that you no longer want to be addicted and lead the lifestyle that is associated with it. Making this decision automatically puts you ahead of the pack on your road to recovery, as others may still be struggling with the idea of sobriety.

2. Get help – If you haven’t done so already, enrolling in a treatment program is the best way to build a solid foundation for recovery by learning the tools you’ll need and having an opportunity to address many of the issues that have been barriers for you previously.

3. Develop a recovery plan – People aren’t magically cured after they leave a treatment center. Sustained recovery takes work and perseverance. This is something that should incorporate all areas of your life so that you can continue building on the foundation that you’ve set for your new life.

4. Stay connected – Recovery support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and other similar meetings or organizations can be vital components to long-term sobriety. They have helped millions of people by providing a safe place to go and people to be with who share your same goal of recovery. You can also stay connected to treatment center alumni organizations, recovery advocacy groups and other similar forms of support.

5. Help others – One of the greatest aspects of 12 step groups is the action of Sponsorship. Just as having a Sponsor when you first join is beneficial to helping you through a crucial time, becoming a Sponsor is invaluable toward maintaining sobriety. This can also come in other forms, such as volunteering with your church, civic groups or other non-profit organizations. The point is to stay involved in drug-free activities designed to help other people.

Of course there are many other helpful tips for long-term recovery, but these five can help you make 2016 one that is drug-free and happy. If you have any questions or would like help implementing this now, contact us today.

For Those in Recovery, Preparation is Key for Surviving the Holidays

During the span of eight weeks, Americans move from giving thanks, to decking the halls and then ringing in the New Year. This is supposed to be a joyous time of year, full of celebrations, family reunions and spending time with friends. But for someone in recovery, it could seem like a perfect storm, a trifecta of holiday celebrations and opportunities to stumble from the path of sober living.

With a little preparation and strong resolve to maintain sobriety, people in recovery can overcome those stumbling blocks to enjoy the holiday celebrations with their families.

First, stay focused on your own recovery. Other people’s problem behaviors become more prominent once in recovery. Mind your business. Your own recovery is enough to work on without adding someone else’s to it. Don’t let other people’s lack of self control get you off track.

Take responsibility of past behaviors. Facing relatives who feel it necessary to air all grievances against you at the Thanksgiving celebration is not the most ideal situation. Remind your family that you are in recovery, and that you apologize for past behaviors. Change the subject, and move on to a new conversation.

Don’t participate in alcoholic conversations. Reliving war stories of past drinking days is unhealthy for your recovery. Get outside for some fresh air, or help in the kitchen. If all else fails, head to the bathroom – typically no one will bother you in there!

To make sure you have a non-alcoholic beverage, bring your own. Even the youngest party guests can enjoy a non-alcoholic sparkling cider or interesting punch. You never know, there may be other adults who want to limit their alcohol intake too.

Think of a list of things that you can do with your family that don’t include alcohol. Get your family to do something healthy with you: take a walk or throw around a football. Be productive and help grandma out around the house.

Finally, make sure you have an exit plan. If all else fails, make sure you know how you can leave if you need to. Let your host or a few trusted guest know ahead of time that you may need to leave early so they can support your decision.

Preparation is key! Have your plan ready before arriving at the celebration. Happy Holidays!