Anyone that has battled addiction will tell you that stress and emotions are generally a pretty big trigger for most people in recovery and emotional recovery. Emotions are a trigger for just about everyone, in fact, so why would those in recovery be any different? The only difference is that the impact is usually bigger because people who are recovering are already dealing with a lot to begin with on many levels. Whether someone is two days or two years into recovery, their common stressors include things like:
- Family and friends (or the lack thereof)
- Money (not having enough)
- Memories and trauma
Too much risk
Given that these are the top factors affecting the mental and emotional health of those in recovery, it’s no wonder that the holidays become even more stressful or create additional depression and anxiety. Then, you can’t forget the holiday parties and gatherings where most people are drinking socially and having a good time-- when you might not be able to join them. Some people might not even be able to attend because the temptation is too much risk.
A growing number of resources
All of this can lead to further despair, loneliness, and isolation. That’s difficult for anyone, but even more so for those in recovery who need as much connection and support as they can get. Fortunately, there are a growing number of resources out there catering specifically to people who are recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol when it comes to dealing with the added stress or sadness of the holiday season.
Avoid risks and triggers
If you’re trying to stay sober, avoid any risks, and triggers that you can. Of course, with holiday obligations, this may not always be possible. Keep in mind that your health and wellbeing isn’t worth an obligation, though, and consider excusing yourself from any events or situations that seem like they would be too much to handle. Consider coming up with new holiday traditions or spending time with your other friends in recovery.
Give yourself plenty of options
Like everything, staving off or combating the holiday blues when you’re also trying to stay sober is all about having a plan. Make sure that you give yourself plenty of options and put yourself in the best position for success this holiday season. Whether it’s family stress or just the general holiday blahs, you don’t have to suffer and you don’t have to go through it alone. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, from friends and family, or even from professionals in mental health and recovery services.