Recovery Messages & News

Addiction – Coping With the Holidays

By Wendy Hyman

Tis’ the season to be jolly….or not! The holidays can be difficult for individuals in recovery. Here are some general tips to help keep a recovery focus during the holidays:

  1. Prepare a plan and share your plan with someone to increase accountability. If you have sponsor, talk to them. If not, then find a close friend or healthy loved one you can talk to. Since the holidays can cause stress, loneliness, depression and worry your plan can incorporate how to deal with these uncomfortable feelings. It has been said that Addiction is a feelings disease so finding healthy ways to process and manage these is important.
  2. Keep connected with your recovery supports. Increase the number of times you go to meetings, if needed, and talk with your sponsor. Throw in some NEW meetings. Remember, your presence at a meeting is a gift to those in attendance. You do not need to share, showing up is a wonderful gift. Now is not the time to isolate, as ‘an addict alone is in bad company.’
  3. Stop stressing over presents. Make a card or send an email saying you will shovel their walk after the first snowfall. Or tell someone you are donating five hours of soup kitchen work in their honour this month. Can you promise to take a youngster to the park sledding as soon as it snows? Make presents manageable and realistic.
  4. Be of Service. Help someone out. You are not the only one going through a rough time. Look around there are plenty of people that have less than you. Helping them this time of year will help you immensely. Get out of your own head by serving others.
  5. Remember H.A.L.T: remind yourself not to get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. It seems simple enough, but when these basic needs are not met, we are susceptible to self-destructive behaviours, including relapse. The dangers of hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness are real, but fortunately, they are also easy to address and serve as a warning system.
  6. Make a gratitude list and journal. It is almost impossible to feel sorry for yourself and grateful at the same time.
  7. We all know that the holidays foster togetherness, especially among family and friends, however it is important to be mindful of the vulnerabilities this creates and keep your recovery priorites in mind.

For more articles on the holidays and recovery, please visit the following link: Hazelden holiday articles

Holiday Stress