Recovery is difficult no matter who you are or the season we are in. It’s a process that takes time and effort and must always remain the priority. While in recovery its important not to put unnecessary pressure on yourself. This is often easier said than done, especially during the holiday season. The holidays can be a stressful for just about anyone. Endless holiday parties and social gatherings, family you haven’t seen in months is enough to elevate anyone’s anxiety levels.

So how do you survive the holidays and stay on track in recovery?

Keep your expectations realistic so you don’t set yourself up to fail. Being in recovery is not a fix all and won’t make you resilient to temptation or stress. Understanding this and being realistic about the holidays is the first step. Most importantly we cannot control others, so your time is best spent on what you can control and that focusing on yourself and your recovery.

Its okay to say No! Just because you are invited doesn’t mean you must attend. If attending a party or gathering is too stressful or tempting, you can decline.

Plan: Make a list of things you enjoy during the holidays that have nothing to do with alcohol or drugs. Focus on those activities during the holiday season.

Surround yourself with supportive family friends: Limit your time at gatherings and events that may pose as a temptation. Fill your time with people who understand you are in recovery and are completely supportive.

Rehearse your script: Rehearse responses to certain situations so that you are not caught off guard. Short and simple responses to why you’re not drinking or need to leave early may help relieve some anxiety.

Ditch harmful traditions: Holiday traditions may be very important to you. Some traditions may need an alteration to be supportive of recovery and more reflective of your current situation.

Most importantly remember that holidays are just another day in the calendar year.  Just take it one day at a time.

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