Celebrations in Recovery: Facing Your First Sober Holiday Season
Celebrations come with expectations. When facing your first holiday season in recovery from addiction, though, it is difficult to know what to expect.
In a season associated with family get-togethers, leisure time, and traditions, finding oneself in the beginning stages of sobriety can be daunting. What will the “new normal” for the holidays consist of, and how will you take the steps to handle it gracefully?
Finding community is an important first step. Isolation during the holidays is common—it’s a time when it feels unnatural to be away from your home environment. We expect to be with our families, celebrating, or partaking in whichever traditions we associate with our past; though in recovery, our traditions can hold new meaning.
Here are some tips to stay on top of your emotions during the holiday season and ensure a successful and healthy end to your year.
1) Set Goals for Yourself in the New Year
The holiday season also signifies the end of a year—and the beginning of another. We are gifted with a clean slate of a calendar, and it is up to us to decide what we will do with the next 365 days. Take this time to reflect upon what you’d like to accomplish next year, and how you can take practical steps to achieve your goals, whether they be professional, personal, or directly related to your sobriety.
2) Take Time for New Traditions
Although we may mourn the loss of certain traditions and are unable to participate in, we have a unique opportunity to create new traditions during holidays away from home. Nearly any tradition can find new life in a new environment. Reach out to others in similar and find a group to see holiday lights, go ice-skating, or watch a holiday movie. Homesickness is normal—and there are others who may be experiencing the very same thing.
3) Reach Out
Reach out to friends and family during this time, and remember to count your blessings. Your success in sobriety comes from within, and creating connections in your newfound independence from addiction will reflect to those who love and support you.
4) Give Back to Others
Volunteering can be one of the most rewarding experiences we can have during this season. From giving back to others, we are reminded of how blessed we are, and can bring joy to someone else’s life. Seek out opportunities to give back—not only at this time of year, but all year long.
5) Find a Meeting or Group to Attend
Meetings are often held leading up to the holidays, and other attendees will discuss how they are feeling during the season. Finding comfort in their support can make all the difference in how you approach this time of festivity.