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With the holiday season upon us, many of us look forward to get-togethers with friends and family, and work celebrations with colleagues. From the smell of holiday cookies baking to hearing carols in stores, we’re primed to be in a holiday mood. But the season can also bring stress. Attending or planning holiday events can be exhausting and we often have high expectations that don’t always align with reality. For someone in early recovery – and their family members – it can be an especially stressful time.

Here are tips for those in early recovery from addiction on how to navigate the holidays.

For those in early recovery:

  • Isolation is not beneficial for someone in early recovery. Even if you’re not in the mood to attend a holiday party, surround yourself with people who are healthy and sober. Attend a meeting, call a sponsor, or find supportive friends and family.
  • Plan ahead for get-togethers. The combination of alcohol and family dynamics can be challenging. Consider an exit strategy or a safety plan if alcohol is being served or if you feel anxious at these events.
  • Don’t plan to stay for the entire time if it’s going to make you uncomfortable. It’s fine to bring a friend as sober support or to call someone from a support group if you need to talk.
  • Don’t stress if someone offers you a drink. It’s perfectly OK to just say no, without explanation. You can also keep a glass of water in your hand at all times. You will soon realize that no one thinks any less of someone who doesn’t drink, many people don’t.
  • Remember that putting your sobriety first is your priority. You don’t have to accept every invitation. Spend time with sober friends instead, or create a new tradition like volunteering at a soup kitchen.

It’s important for individuals and families in early recovery to keep open communication with each other so everyone can enjoy the holidays together.

Remember this and I think this is the most important- When the Holidays are over how do you want to look back at it and how you handled it?  Being festive and Merry and loving and fun does not come from Drugs/Alcohol, it comes from being who you are and bringing the very best of your attitude and heart to all you come in contact with this season.  Being Clean/Sober is cool, is trendy (lol) and is real.

Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!

I seriously love each and every one of you!

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