The holiday season is wrought with exciting prospects. However, for those continuing to pursue their recovery outside of the treatment sphere, they can also be times of stress.
One’s past use of addictive substances may be closely tied to holiday celebrations, and the social gatherings can be intimidating as an individual continues to explore their newfound sober identity. However, repurposing the holidays and approaching them in new ways can be a great way to further distance oneself from their past use. This can help create a new culture of celebration that can help one cherish the holiday season as a time of festivities while still keeping sober goals in mind.
Be Open to New Experiences
The holidays can have tight cultures set around them. Different families or communities may have their own unique traditions that are closely tied to the holiday season, whether it be a Thanksgiving tradition, Hanukkah, Christmas, or New Year’s celebration.
However, these traditions may hold some very potent reminders of one’s past. It is essential to be willing to look at one’s traditions, changing or ceasing certain practices to keep one’s sobriety at the forefront of one’s priorities.
While being ready to relinquish past traditions can help an individual distance themselves from a potentially stressful holiday celebration, it is also essential to replace these activities with new experiences in order to prevent boredom or feelings of isolation. Staying social and safely celebrating the holidays is an incredible experience. Replacing old traditions with new ones can help signify the transformations one has made in themselves, aiding in continued healing alongside one’s family and friends.
Refocus on the Spirit of the Holiday
Creating new traditions can stem from refocusing on the original reason behind each holiday. While families will develop their own ways of celebrating over the years, taking a holiday back to its roots can scaffold new practices.
Using Christmas to focus on one’s spiritual or religious needs or using Thanksgiving as a way to truly give thanks to the support that one has received throughout their recovery process rather than just a time to get together, eat, and watch football can be the catalyst for further healing. Focusing on the spirit of the holiday can give each person space to exhibit the changes made in sobriety and create a new atmosphere around the holidays for years to come.
Take on a Responsible Role
Holiday celebrations can come with many moving parts, with organizing food, games, gifts, and festivities. Taking on responsibilities tied to the celebrations can be a great way to incorporate oneself in the holiday festivities with a new perspective.
Helping with cooking, setting up decorations, or organizing board games or other activities can not provide an individual with a crucial role in the festivities. It also helps an individual continue to practice and demonstrate the life skills gained throughout the recovery process.
The Role of Gift-Giving
Giving gifts can be a powerful recovery tool. By giving meaningful, personal gifts during the holidays (or any other time of year), an individual can express the intimate, personal relationships they have developed with family members, friends, and supports in one’s newfound sobriety. Being able to give a heartfelt gift can be the catalyst for deepening trust, recapturing, and redefining one’s most important relationships going forward.
Hosting Your Own Holiday Celebration
Hosting one’s own holiday celebrations can be a great way to control as many aspects of the festivities as possible, ensuring that one’s parties remain free of alcohol or drugs and that the guest list is filled with the most supportive and understanding people.
Using holidays to organize and thank those most impactful during one’s recovery can turn the holidays from a stressful time coping with urges and past traditions to an atmosphere of thanks and intimate support. By providing food, gifts, or otherwise making an effort to engage with loved ones in a new way, one can open the gates to new hobbies and levels of acceptance that look to the future rather than the past.
The holidays are a time of celebration, and an individual doesn’t need to isolate or flee from holiday gatherings in an effort to stay sober. Instead, the holidays can birth new memories, deepen relationships, and be used as a tool to personify the changes one is making in themselves. Changing the meaning and expectations behind these holidays can likewise transform this time of year from a source of unending stress to a supportive time of family and caring that can set the tone for the year to come.
Finding a new way to celebrate throughout the holiday season can set a new tone for one’s sobriety, and we at Everlast Recovery Centers are ready to help you take the first steps towards redefining what the holiday season means to you in sobriety. Whether you are taking your first steps into a sober future or are looking to further build upon your sober toolkit this season, we are ready to personalize a plan for you. With art, music, yoga, meditation, mindfulness practices, and much more, we can create a personalized program for your sober goals. Our homey, supportive atmosphere is also filled with understanding and supportive individuals, helping you to detach from the stresses of the holiday season and continue prioritizing your own growth in sobriety. For more information on how we can help you, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (866) 338-6925.