Every day of every year someone is moving forward into the world in one way or the other; a newborn, a high school or college graduate, a newlywed couple, someone who is buying a new home, and yes, even someone stepping out of a drug and rehab treatment center. Each of these scenarios are full of wonder of the unknown, no one is really sure where the next path will lead, and running forward without any type of plan is foolhardy at best and destructive at worst.
Regardless of the individual’s life situation though, one of the most difficult times of the year is the holiday season. The holiday to-do lists get longer: shopping, gifts and groceries; obligations, family and parties; and crowds, on the road and in the malls, so it is quiet often people find themselves overwhelmed.
For those of us who are newly sober or someone who has been sober for many years, this time of year we can find ourselves struggling a bit with all the commitments. The important part to remember is that we are not alone. From those in drug treatment centers to those of us who are firmly ensconced in the 12-Step community, help is readily available.
If you are sober, feeling alone, and frightened is there something you can to do keep you from taking that first drink or drug?
Of course there is and here is a helpful list.
- Plan each day of your holiday. Finding people who are supportive of your recovery will be your first wall of defense.
- Find an “Alkathon.” During Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s some Alcoholics Anonymous groups hold marathon meetings called “Alkathons.” Most of these groups have meetings every hour on the hour to share their experience, strength, and hope.
- Create a list. Make a list of at ten people you can call if you feel like drinking. Of course the list should consist of people who will help prevent you from drinking and not go out with you to drink. If you have a cell phone, and most of us do, carry it with you at all times.
- Steer Clear. Stay away from all the slippery places you once drank. Don’t visit old drinking establishments to wish them good cheer. If you are compelled to wish the bar good cheer, send a card.
- Have an attitude of gratitude. One of the best ways to turn the holiday blues around is to write a list of blessings. Write it each morning. It might seem silly at first, but by time you hit ten you’ll be much happier.
This list can be almost endless and these are just five quick ones to get you going. Adding to this list and sharing your ideas with those who are sober is helpful and part of giving back. Remember, the holidays are a stressful time but they can be filled with great wonderment. Be a part of the joy and not the sorrow.