If you’re someone who has traditionally leaned on alcohol and or drugs to get through the Holidays, you’re not alone; the alcohol industry makes a quarter of all its sales, and accidental overdoses increase during every holiday season. If this is your first holiday season in recovery, you know you will need a new plan to deal with the chaos, or just plain craziness that family seems so good at pulling out. Before you decide to cancel your trip home altogether, consider the ways you can use this family gathering to support your recovery instead of sabotaging it. Although they are usually the last people we want to hurt, over the years our family and loved ones often bear the brunt of our mistakes in active addiction. Once a situation has passed and months if not years have gone by, it can feel awkward to bring up an experience no one is proud of. However, as you have hopefully learned in recovery you are strong enough to greet the pain you once caused with a new and sober you! On the bright side, the holidays give you an opportunity to create new, positive memories with your family to replace the ones you wish were different. Unfortunately, there’s no way to go back in time and undo what was done, whether you showed up to services or a meal drunk or high, or maybe never showed up at all. But don’t let your disappointment over what you did or didn’t do get in the way of enjoying your family now.
So come early this year and help your mom or dad prep the side dishes, or run to the store for the last minute things they forgot. Try introducing the whole family to an interactive, and fun game that you can play around the table, this always helps in taking everyone’s minds off the squabbles of the past. Share where you are today, what you have learned, and talk about the new things you are doing in your life and sobriety today. Families can be the hardest for us to face, but deep down, outside the fear they had for your life, they all really just want to see you happy and doing well. Embrace this and if it is just too much, or your family’s house is not a safe place for you to go, then find a friends house you could go to and spend the holidays with them and their family. It is important to always take care of yourself and your recovery first. The people who love you will completely understand what a priority it is to you to maintain your recovery, and they’ll do everything in their power to keep you there. Protecting your life from relapse is one act you’ll never need to repent for. Talk to your recovery community about your fears, triggers, and any other issues you have surrounding the holidays, we promise it will go a long way!