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Your First Sober Holiday Season
The holiday season can be a challenging time for everyone, whether or not they are sober and in recovery or not. This time of year brings opportunities for celebration and reunions. But it also often includes stressful travel, political arguments over the dinner table, drinking and drugging, and friction between difficult relatives.
When you’re new to recovery and still getting your bearings in sobriety, the holidays can represent a special challenge. Alcohol and drugs are far more likely to be present. You may be offered one or the other or both. Being newly sober, one of the things we experience is a return of our emotions.
When we’re under the influence most of the time, many of the feelings we once had are blunted or muted. So many people drink or use as a means to cope with uncomfortable feelings, among other reasons, that we may become detached from our feelings a bit. Emotionally numb, some might say.
Managing Your Emotions in Sobriety
When you become sober and the fog begins to clear, your natural and healthy emotional state begins to return. As your emotional systems come back online, you may find yourself surprised by powerful feelings you haven’t encountered in some time.
These can include positive emotions like joy, love, belonging, and nostalgia, of course – and that’s what we want. It’s all part of beginning to feel human again. However, other feelings like resentment, jealousy, fear, lust, and anger come along for the ride too. The whole spectrum of emotions is part of what it means to be human.
So it helps to be aware of this, especially if you’re in early recovery. Adopt coping tools to manage your emotions and keep them in check. Learn to take a breath before you react to any strong emotion, whether it’s positive or negative.
Don’t let your emotions take action on your behalf. Pause. Take a beat and let your intellect catch up to what your feelings are telling you before you do or say anything.
Tips for managing your emotions in difficult situations
- When you feel a strong emotion – STOP and breathe before you act or speak.
- Remember that you are in control – no person or situation can MAKE you feel anything.
- YOU can decide how to feel about something – it’s not easy, but it’s possible.
- If you can’t change the way you feel, that’s OK. But take responsibility for your reaction.
- Remember: Your peace of mind and sobriety are more important than winning any argument or pleasing or impressing anyone else.
Making A Plan to Stay Sober Over the Holidays
Staying sober over the holidays doesn’t have to be like tip-toeing through a minefield — if you prepare and have a plan in advance.
- Make sure your host knows you are sober. Tell anyone you are comfortable with long before the holidays begin. That way people are less likely to offer you drinks or drugs.
- Have a plan to check in with your sponsor and sober supports during the holiday. If you can, set specific times and days to check in and say hello.
- Find local meetings to attend. If you travel for the season, locate meetings in advance and plan to go to one every day you’re there if possible. It’s only 1 hour out of your day – your sobriety is worth it.
- Be prepared to walk away. This can be a tough one, but make yourself a promise that if you find yourself in temptation or an untenable situation – you will do whatever it takes to get yourself to safety.
The Keys To Staying Sober Through the Holidays
The key to staying sober through the holiday season is to have a plan and stick to it and to keep yourself accountable by staying in touch with your sponsor, sober supports, and your fellowship however you can. If this is your first holiday in sobriety don’t just “wing it” and assume you’ll be OK. Have a plan beforehand and stick to it.
If people are using and drinking in front of you and you’re uncomfortable, your sobriety is more important than anyone else’s feelings. Call a sober support. Call a rideshare or a taxi if you need to and get yourself away from the danger if necessary. Whatever it takes to protect your sobriety is what you need to do. It is precious. So many people lose theirs and never get it back. Decide that isn’t going to be you. You’re going to hold onto your sobriety with both hands into the new year.
Achieve Sobriety in New Jersey With Our Help
There is no reason to let alcohol and drugs make decisions for you any longer. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Achieve Wellness and Recovery can help. You just need to make the first move and give us a call.
If you have questions about substance use disorders and treatment for addiction in NJ, we have answers. Achieve Wellness and Recovery is dedicated to providing a safe place where people can heal and recover from addiction and live better lives.
Get the substance use disorder treatment in New Jersey you deserve. Give Achieve Wellness and Recovery a call at (833) 680-0142
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