The holidays bring up so much emotional turmoil. Some men and women feel depressed while others feel stressed out. Some might feel pressure from their family and friends, while others feel lonely and alone. Some people might feel concerned that they aren’t doing enough to show they care, while others don’t care at all. The emotional waters are choppy for many people versus calm and serene.
Another challenging aspect of this season is finances. Some people might feel required to purchase gifts for their coworkers, family, and friends. If there is barely enough for paying the bills, it might uncomfortable to stretch yourself for gifts this season. Feelings like guilt, worry, anxiety, or even fear might arise.
If you are new to recovery perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself is focus on your sobriety. Don’t worry about the Christmas demands, they will be there again next year. Let go of the idea that you need to buy everyone gifts. Instead, give yourself the gift of focusing on sobriety so that you can avoid relapse and stay sober for many years to come.
Keeping Sobriety Front and Center
Here are some suggestions to keep your sobriety front and center this holiday season:
- Attend AA meetings versus holiday parties this year. If this is the first year of your recovery, why not let the whole season go and focus on your recovery? Although being with your friends and family might sound tempting, you’re likely to gain greater benefits from AA meetings versus being tempted by the alcoholic drinks served at the party. Furthermore, at AA meetings, you’ll be surrounded by others who are also focused on sobriety. Compare this to being at a party and being surrounded by those who are drinking.
- Let your family know ahead of time your focus for the next few months. If you share your plans with your family about your intended focus this year, they are more likely to understand when you turn down an invitation. They are likely to support you in taking care of yourself and your choice to stay sober. Letting your family know ahead of time might also let them know not to invite you to events that might jeopardize your sobriety.
- Work closely with your sponsor or therapist this holiday season. As mentioned earlier, this is the time of year when emotions are easily triggered. If this is the case for you, stay closely connected to someone who can support you. You might work closely with a therapist or your sponsor, or both. However, it’s important to know that there is a difference between the two. A sponsor’s primary responsibility is to guide you through the 12-steps. And a therapist is trained to support your psychological and emotional well being. A sponsor may be able to help you with recovery-related issues. A therapist might also be able to do this while providing you with coping tools to use when you’re struggling emotionally.
These are tips to keep your sobriety the primary focus during this time of year. You might be tempted to make gift giving and celebrating with friends your focus. Yet, if buying gifts is going to affect your financial health and if celebrating is going to jeopardize your sobriety, then both of these activities may not be the best choice. If you’re new to recovery, let sobriety be at the center of your experience this holiday season.