The HolidaysWith the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holidays fast approaching, the anxiety and build up is also soon to arrive. The holiday season becomes stressful for everyone to different extents. Which gifts to purchase, what parties to attend, dealing with family issues and relationships head on, traveling long distances, grieving over the loss of a loved one, etc. All of these stressors and obligations are enough to tempt even a veteran in recovery to relapse and fall into the traps of drugs or alcohol once more. Alcohol is a very popular coping mechanism during this time of year but there are tons of alternatives to drugs and alcohol when the stress hits. You must have a plan intact ahead of time, however.We’ve all experienced enough holidays in the past to know what thoughts, people and events make us upset and emotional. If you’ve made a recent lifestyle change or are new to recovery, the best alternative would be to celebrate the holidays in ways that you hadn’t in the past. This means getting outdoors more often and engaging in activities that you maybe had never thought about.
- Go to a Christmas service or concert at a church. Not only is this activity free but it’s also therapeutic.
- Find a Christmas Lights exhibit. Most towns will have some sort of display of Christmas Lights at night time. Many larger cities will have drive-thru light displays or lights on display at the zoo.
- Rent a cabin in the mountains for New Years Eve. This will take you out of your usual element and only a few, if any of your family members will be around. You would almost have to go way out of your way to purchase drugs or alcohol.
- Volunteering at a homeless shelter. Volunteer work is often encouraged after leaving treatment and doing so builds esteem and giving back makes yourself feel good. It also puts things in perspective that life could be a lot worse and to give thanks for what you do have.
- Throw a New Years Eve party for those you know that are in recovery. This could be people in your immediate circle of friends or people in your treatment center Alumni group. They would be thrilled to attend because they likely have the same worries that you’re having regarding temptation and relapse.
- Go ice skating. Not everyone can skate and you’re guaranteed to have a few laughs when one of your family members takes a tumble when trying. Anyone can learn to ice skate after 30 minutes of practice on their own.
- Indulge in the Holiday Food and then Some. Nothing can satisfy cravings like good holiday food. Purchase egg nog without alcohol. Try all of the different holiday cheeses. If your family cooks a Christmas dinner, it will most likely be Thanksgiving all over again anyway.
- Go Shopping. Be careful with this activity. Battling the holiday shopping crowds can be stressful. Many people also find relaxation in retail therapy, though. It depends on the individual. If the big crowds do bother you, shop on weeknights during early December.
- Any event centered around fun for children and family. New movies are often released around the Holidays. Make it a family outing.