How To Navigate The Holidays Without Family During Early Recovery Mental Health

Those in long-term recovery typically are adept at navigating the minefield of temptation at holiday social gatherings. But many of those in their first year of recovery, their friends, and family members wonder how best to celebrate reframing holidays in early recovery the holidays safely, comfortably, and joyously. The holidays are a challenging time of year emotionally for many people. For as much as happy memories and goodwill are promoted, many people experience quite the opposite.

The holidays may come with expectations, such as shopping, travel, cooking, and multiple social gatherings. While the holidays are a time to celebrate family and good cheer, they are also a time when other feelings can be heightened. Lastly, individuals in recovery must address sober networking opportunities to protect their sobriety throughout the holidays. In addition to support groups, there are likely a plethora of sober holiday events and gatherings taking place in communities across the United States. Consider volunteering or planning and hosting a sober gathering.

Have non-alcoholic drinks available.

It will help to be around people who understand what you’re going through. For people in early recovery, these stressors can be more severe. Staying in one night when you’re feeling overwhelmed or leaving that party early is ok. Some people might not understand addiction and how difficult it can be to control.

It’s easy enough to pick up the phone, and you will find yourself feeling better as well. If you previously viewed the holidays as a time of parties and indulgence, it can be helpful to amend your point of view so that you look at the holidays as a time of connection and re-connection. Get in touch with old friends–friends leading a healthy lifestyle and not your “party” friends. These are the people who can provide you with the emotional support you need to enjoy a stable recovery period. This time each year can be stressful for anyone, but the holidays present a special challenge for people recovering from an addiction.

If you’re in early recovery and heading home to family members for the holidays:

These acts of kindness will also bring benefits to you in your recovery. Watching other people spend time with their families can be difficult when you do not have your family to be with. You may be alone by necessity, because you are unable to travel, or because your family is not available. Furthermore, you may be alone due to the loss of family members or because of your recovery needs. Even if being without your family is a choice made for your well-being, spending the holidays without family can still be difficult.

reframing holidays in early recovery

Moreover, as public awareness about the disease of addiction increases, the less stigmatized it will be and the more openly our society will celebrate recovery. Headaches, sluggishness or low energy, lack of mental clarity, and sugar cravings can all come from being dehydrated. Aim to drink half your weight in ounces of water daily.

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