Today is Christmas Eve and hopefully the stress of shopping and traveling has come to an end. Now, you are probably thinking you can breathe a sigh of relief, relaxing for the remainder of the holiday. But if you are working a program of recovery, that might not be the best course of action. Surely, a little R&R should be a part of the next 24 hours, and is even recommended. Stressing out over a holiday is a slippery slope.
However, it is very important to have a plan for maintaining your recovery, not just on Christmas Day, but through the New Year as well. Do you have a meeting(s) that you are committed to attending? Have you been invited to recovery Christmas party? Or, more importantly, do you plan to attend a Christmas party where people will be consuming alcohol? All important questions.
How people manage through the holidays could be compared to a litmus test for determining the strength of one’s own recovery. How able are you to follow the instructions of your sponsor and support network? Those who do not heed the advice of people with more sobriety, typically put their recovery at great risk. And if you are in your first year of sobriety, your sponsor has probably advised against you attending a party that includes alcohol. Unfortunately, often that is easier said than done, especially if you are going to your families for the holiday.
Being around extended family can be trying, even more so when it is compounded by alcohol and people intoxicated on the substance. If you and your sponsor decide that such a gathering may jeopardize your program, it is best that you do not attend. That being the case, you may be thinking that your absence will upset the family. Which may be true, but do not despair. In time, your family will realize that you are on a different path, one that involves bettering yourself after years of self-destruction. One of the hardest aspects of recovery, without a doubt, is the delicate balance of family.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday, work on and protect your recovery during the holiday. Whatever your plan looks like for tomorrow, please remember that your recovery must always come first. To ensure that it remains the priority, it is a good idea to structure your day as you would any other day:
- Avoid Being Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired (H.A.L.T.)
- Attend a Meeting
- Call Your Sponsor
At Cottonwood Tucson, we would like to wish everyone working a program of addiction recovery a safe and sober Christmas.