When you just got out of an exceptional drug treatment center, you’ll feel several emotions at once. You’d be happy to overcome your addiction, but at the same time, you’ll also feel afraid. Afraid of relapsing or facing society again.
If you completed your treatment just in time for Christmas or New Year, your struggle could be twice as hard. You might get invited to numerous parties where booze or recreational drugs could be present. Sober parties aren’t necessarily better either. Triggers don’t choose a time, place, or situation. You could be surrounded by your family and still get tempted to relapse. That’s because people themselves could be triggers.
So, should you celebrate the holidays after rehab, or are you safer staying at home without seeing anyone?
The Challenges in Celebrating Holidays
It’s not wrong for a recovering addict to celebrate holidays, or any event, for that matter. They’ve earned the privilege to enjoy a party after becoming clean. Also, they’ve missed their friends and family during rehab. It’s only natural for them to crave companionship through joyous activities.
But since alcohol and recreational drugs are often available at parties, a recovering addict will be vulnerable. If they didn’t disclose their past addiction, no one in the party would know that they’re exposing them to their triggers. In this scenario, it’s your choice to be honest or stay silent and trust yourself that you won’t touch a single drug or booze.
Your honesty can go a long way. If everyone at the party knows that you’ve just gone sober, they will know better than to offer you a drink or drug. However, not everybody reacts that way toward recovering addicts.
If they don’t have your best interests at heart, they’d still tempt you to relapse because “it’s the holidays” or “it’s for tonight only.” Their reasons can go on and on, so it’s your choice whether to get yourself out of the situation or stand your ground and say, “No, it’s not worth risking my sobriety for.”
If the addictive substances aren’t the triggers, but a person or situation, it would be best to sit out a celebration. Addiction can put a strain on familial, platonic, or romantic relationships. Seeing the people you’ve hurt because of your addiction can trigger feelings of guilt and shame. It can also cause anxiety, which could tempt you to relapse.
Reasons to Celebrate the Holidays
Although it’s hard and risky, there are still reasons you should celebrate the holidays. Life in rehab hasn’t been easy for you. You suffered withdrawal symptoms, endured being away from your loved ones and faced the reasons you fell into addiction. Now that you’re back in the real world, there are many reasons to celebrate.
Celebrating the holidays can be your way of celebrating your recovery. Even if you haven’t reached the final stage of recovery yet, the fact that you were cleared to leave rehab is a remarkable achievement. To keep your parties trigger-free, only invite people who would keep you on the right track. Besides, by this time, you should’ve already cut contact with the people who plunged you into addiction. If you’re still connected to them, know that seeing them again can increase your risk for a relapse.
Sober Holiday Activities
To ensure that your holidays will be trigger-free, focus on sober activities. Plan it to reduce your chances of encountering your triggers.
Here are some ideas for sober holiday activities:
Addiction is linked to poor mental health. Getting out of rehab doesn’t necessarily end your mental struggles. Consider a wellness retreat if you think you could use a relaxing time. The Lodge at Woodloch in Pennsylvania is open all year round. They offer forest bathing (meditative walking through the woods) and chakra medication.
Cooking or Baking
Cooking or baking doesn’t have to be a chore. Depending on whom you’re doing it with, it can be a festive activity. Prepare your comfort food or traditional holiday meals. It can elicit feelings of nostalgia that can warm your heart.
Getting active can reduce temptations to relapse. Go skating, snowboarding, or swimming in a hot spring. Get close to nature because it has therapeutic benefits.
Becoming an addict doesn’t forfeit your right to be festive and happy. If celebrating the holidays won’t cause you to relapse, then, by all means, attend or host parties. Otherwise, make peace with a calmer, solitude-filled holiday. That can be healing, too, because it might allow you to center yourself and realize what’s truly important.