The holiday season can be a fun, exciting time to celebrate with family and friends. However, for some, the holidays can be a really difficult time. This time of year can elicit complicated emotions, cloudy judgment, and complex relational dynamics. As a result, it can be hard to stay sober during this time, especially when there are so many parties and celebrations surrounding you. Luckily, you don’t have to face any of it alone. Together we’ll discuss how you can stay sober during the holidays by enforcing boundaries, surrounding yourself with healthy relationships, and how to stay healthy through it all.
Establishing boundaries can be difficult, especially during the holiday season. However, this time of year might be when boundaries matter most. Holidays can rake up all kinds of feelings, expectations, and relational complications. As a result, it’s important to have systems in place to properly prepare yourself for situations that may lead to distress or temptation. You’ve worked hard to get where you are, now it’s time to honor that work and honor yourself with healthy choices. This may mean establishing boundaries for yourself and those around you.
An important aspect of enforcing healthy boundaries is knowing your triggers. Boundaries will help you avoid putting yourself in a situation where it would be difficult for you to maintain the sobriety you’ve worked so hard for. It’s important to remember that boundaries don’t have to be permanent. They can fluctuate and adjust based on your health, season of life, and goals. The importance lies in knowing your limits and honoring those as long as needed. Your boundaries may be temporary, only exist around certain people, or become permanent. Either way, doing what’s best for your overall health and well-being will always be worth the boundaries.
Examples of boundaries may include:
Relational boundaries may be hard to enforce with family, especially around the holidays. However, it’s important to remember that boundaries don’t have to be accepted, understood, or welcomed to be valid. So, while family members or friends may not understand the boundaries you’re putting up, it doesn’t mean the boundaries are wrong or bad. It does mean that you’re advocating for yourself and doing what’s best for you in the long term.
Another way to set yourself up for success in staying sober this holiday season is to surround yourself with a healthy support system. This will look different for everyone, based on personal triggers, previous experiences, and coping skills. However, it’s a good rule of thumb to surround yourself with people who support your healing journey. Certain boundaries may be difficult for others to understand or accept and that’s okay. You’re not responsible for their feelings about your healing, however, you are responsible for yours.
A good way to surround yourself with a healthy support system may include:
If you’re not sure where to start, reach out to your treatment center. They will be able to direct you toward healthy and safe environments in your area. Many treatment centers, like Sage Recovery, often offer special events around the holidays to provide a safe, supportive place to go.
With all the stresses that come along with holidays, it’s easy to let our health fall by the wayside while our stress levels continue to climb. This is a surefire way to compromise the immune system and send the nervous system into overdrive. As a result, judgment can become cloudy and it can be harder to make healthy choices.
One way to prevent this from happening is to plan ahead by scheduling regular check-ins with mental health professionals. They can help you stay on track with your goals and also advise you in making healthy choices. Additionally, they will be able to help you process any difficult feelings or relational dynamics that may be raked up by the holiday season. Spending time with an LPC and discussing your habits and coping skills can help better prepare you for difficult situations, as well as give you the tools needed to withstand moments of weakness.
Another way to stay healthy this season is by staying physically active. Research continually shows a strong correlation between mental and physical health. The more active you are, the more likely you are to have a positive mental health status. Additionally, consistent physical activity can help build a strong immune system, which can come in handy during this time when viruses spread faster than usual.
Navigating this time of year can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be done alone. Here at Sage Recovery, we know how hard it is to maintain sobriety. We also know how to support you through it. Staying sober through the holidays may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Our masters-level clinicians and trauma-informed staff members will be able to guide you every step of the way. Whether you’ve been through treatment multiple times, are inquiring for the first time, or just need some extra support, we’re here to help. Through our customized treatment programs and individualized therapeutic techniques, we’ll be able to help you heal healthily. Whenever you’re ready, reach out to us at (512) 306-1394.