For many people in recovery, this can be a particularly challenging time of year. Also, a time where it could be easy for one to relapse by putting their recovery on "Christmas Break." But, did our using and drinking ever take a break? Awareness and preventative planning can always help if relapse is close by.
During the holidays we are around certain family members we only see this time of year that may drink or drug too much or they flat out drive us crazy! Maybe in previous years we were able to deal with this better since we were drunk or high ourselves. Certain people and behaviors could be a lot less tolerable now that we are in recovery. But this is nothing to get worked up about, and nothing we cannot get through clean especially with our recovery friends and plenty of clean holiday events. So, plan your holiday the same way you previously planned to get high or drunk for the holiday.
We should know it is okay to not go to certain family events where we will feel unsafe and if we need to, LEAVE EARLY! If it is possible, bringing a recovery friend may also help. Create an escape plan of why you may need to leave early, that way you would not feel that you have to explain yourself in depth or that you are offending anyone. Keep your sponsor and networks phone numbers close and do not be afraid to USE them! Find out where there are Holiday Marathon meetings, speaker jams, dances or a holiday alcathon -where meetings run round the clock and there are plenty of support of others in recovery.
And lastly, it is important to remember that we should all have an attitude of gratitude during the holiday. Let's not forget why we got clean to begin with, and keep that gratitude. We are clean today with the ability to be at a holiday event we will actually remember!
In the first few holiday's we may need to avoid or get away from certain aspects of family members or events. However, after step work and because of the experience we gain on this journey, we may develop a large amount of tolerance and empathy for those that once drove us bonkers! That is where we can see the growth in ourselves and benefits of working a recovery program. We are not responsible for how others act, we are responsible for our recovery and how WE react in these situations.