Now that Halloween is over and you’ve made it through all the candy and costume parties without a relapse, its might be time to prepare yourself for the upcoming holidays. Maintaining our sobriety on a daily basis is difficult enough for us when we’re new in recovery, but our first sober holiday celebrations can tip us over the edge and trigger relapse.
Holidays are already a period of emotional highs and lows for us. We may feel the extremes of loneliness, anxiety, happiness and sadness. We may not be reconciled with our loved ones yet, or we’re newly reconciled and tensions may still be high. We may even be returning to a family of people who are suffering from addictions of their own—people who do not yet understand the importance of our own recovery.
Look upon these holiday celebrations as opportunities to practice the recovery tools you have been taught by your sponsor and friends from 12-step groups. It is up to you to anticipate these situations and react to them rationally, not emotionally as we did in the past. Now that you are clean and sober, you must learn to live life on life’s terms. Staying present in the moment and recognizing the next indicated step in your recovery is the most important thing you can do.
We can be consciously aware of our surroundings and recognize the triggers presented in social holiday situations. We have learned the tools to keep us clean and sober, and we now have a network of new friends to turn to for accountability. It may also help to remember and recount our lives in active addiction. Losing sight of the pain we were suffering prior to getting clean and sober is very easy to do. It is these times when the tools we have learned and the new friendships we have made in recovery become a very important resource in our lives.
Whether you were in an inpatient treatment facility or just attending 12-step meetings on your own, you were surrounded by individuals who shared a common interest—learning and sharing what it takes to get and stay clean and sober. Once you venture into mainstream society, the above emotions, situations and individuals will always be present. It is your job to make sure that you keep in mind that the most important person in the room is you, and all that work you did you get to this point is not going be thrown away by someone or some adverse situation. All the 12-step meetings, the step work, the sharing and the discussions with your sponsor were for exactly this moment in time, so play those tapes in your mind and listen and pay close attention to them.
Life in sobriety will present us with “bumps in the road of life” and it is these times that it is imperative for you to pick-up that 500 pound phone and call your sponsor or a sober friend to help you through those trying situations. You didn’t get to this point in your life overnight and recovery is the same process. We are taught that all things are possible, “one day at a time”.