First holidays after alcohol treatment program? Here’s how to get through
Graduating from an alcohol treatment program is a great accomplishment and one you should be proud of – it takes a lot of inner strength and bravery to address a problem with drugs or alcohol. The holidays, especially your first holidays sober, can be a particularly challenging time in your recovery. Relatives, friends and colleagues may say things to hurt your feelings or even be careless in how they characterize your recovery. They may unknowingly or knowingly put you at risk for jeopardizing how far you have come. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your first holidays sober, it just means that you should put together a strong relapse prevention plan and strengthen your resolve to stay sober.
The holidays are a time of particularly high stress and likely high anxiety. Although these are challenging months, managing your emotions and triggers can make getting through the holidays much easier and increase your chances for success.
Having Successful Holidays After an Alcohol Treatment Program
- Minimize stress. This is easier said than done. Keep to your normal work routines and make your regular routine a high priority. Whether that is exercising regularly, going to work on a regular schedule or even walking your dog at the same time, maintain your schedule. Many people find that having a regular schedule helps them de-stress and maintain balance.
- Minimize high risk situations. Triggers are a reality, especially around the holidays. Do not put yourself knowingly in high risk situations – if your family does not understand, simply tell them that you love them, but cannot put your health at risk. Minimize your time in high risk environments by making appointments elsewhere to help a friend, volunteer in the community or attend a meeting.
- Rally your support. After an alcohol treatment program you should have a strong support system. Maintain positive, supportive relationships with sponsors, others in your alumni group and with your alumni director.
- Take time for yourself. It can be easy to get swept away with a tight holiday schedule, but make sure you take time for yourself. Don’t allow yourself to be over scheduled, it is ok to say no. If friends and family do not understand or are not supportive, find a meeting or speak with your sponsor about other place you can go to feel supported in your recovery.
- Start new traditions. Start new traditions that support your recovery and the person you are working to become. Volunteer in your community or find ways to support those less fortunate. Find new traditions with your family and loved ones that support your sobriety.
Your first holidays sober can be scary, but they don’t have to be. Use the tips we’ve listed above to help reduce stress and minimize your exposure to high risk situations. Take time for yourself, rally your support and start new traditions. Look at this time as a great opportunity, not a difficult challenge.
If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of alcohol abuse, substance addiction or any other type of addiction, please call us today. Our addiction treatment counselors can help you deal with physical, emotional and psychological consequences of drug and alcohol abuse. A substance abuse treatment program is effective, safe and has helped many men reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues.