Addiction and the Holiday Season – 2

As noted in a previous blog, the Holiday Season can be a very difficult time for recovering addicts.  Guilt, shame and other challenges can have a powerful impact on the addict’s emotional state and weaken their commitment to recovery.  What is to be done?  There are some simple ways in which the addict can remain firm in the fact of great challenges.

First, the recovering addict must be especially vigilant during the holiday season.  Considering the many pressures the recovering addict is dealing with, they must be especially alert to the presence of triggers.  The addict must realize and be prepared for the reality that alcohol and other drugs can be even more prevalent during the holiday season.

Fourth, the support of others in recovery is vital.  It is too easy to let your mind wander down dangerous paths and begin to think that you can handle just one drink.  As many persons in recovery have learned the hard way, even one drink is far too much, because it’s never enough.  Keeping in contact with a sponsor and a recovery group can provide the individual with the support they need to resist their temptations.

It is also important that the addict make good decisions about how they spend their time during the Holiday Season.  An alcoholic, for example, may want to skip a gathering where most of those in attendance will likely be drinking to excess.  Visiting people with whom the addict previously used drugs is also probably a poor decision.  Overall, the recovering addict must be aware of their own limitations and weaknesses and not put themselves in situations where triggers and temptations will abound.  Telling yourself that you can handle the triggers may be the first step to a fall or relapse.

The holiday season should be a time of joy, companionship and family, and it can be.  The recovering addict who dwells on past failures and sufferings is starting down the path that leads to relapse.  Far better focus on the present.  Enjoy the companionship of family and friends.  Take a drive to see the lights and other decorations.  Savor the good things that the holiday season brings.  The past cannot be changed, so let it go.  Live in the now and focus on the positive.  Surrender the guilt and grief of the past and wallow in the love and joy of the present.

The holiday season is not a reason for sorrow, but for joy.  So, enjoy it!

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