Ahh, Christmas. A time for family and friends, gifts from the heart and if you’re lucky enough, maybe even snow. For a lot of people, it’s also an extremely stressful time of year. From increased work pressure to financial stress and family issues coming to surface when visiting, there’s no shortage of things at Christmas that can stress us out in a big way. Stress is one of the top reasons people begin using drugs or alcohol in the first place, but it’s also one of the most common triggers that causes people to relapse. It’s important that you have some strategies ready to help you deal with the expected and unexpected stressors that pop up. Even the most serene of holidays will have a wrinkle or two, and you should be ready for it.
Remembering that no holiday has to be an absolutely perfect experience will help release a lot of that stress. Expectations can be a good thing, but they can also set you up for unnecessary stress later on if you set the bar too high. Be realistic about the family gathering or office party you’re going to be attending, and don’t go in expecting perfection.
It’s also important to keep in mind that if you’re truly uncomfortable in a situation, you have every right to politely make your exit a little earlier than you planned. Don’t be afraid to let yourself live just a little as a sober person, but if you’re in a situation where you’re really overwhelmed and can feel that you’re craving drug or alcohol use again, be ready to step out, either just to get some air or to head home.
Most of all, you should learn to embrace the imperfect and the smaller stressors. These emotions, negative as they may be sometimes, are part of life, and training yourself to go with the flow will pay off in the long run. That’s the beauty of sobriety, you get to truly experience every side life has to offer with a clear mind, rather than rolling through it in a haze of addiction. Remember that your friends, family and coworkers, as much as they may get under your skin at times, are part of your story, and it’s important to not shut them out.
If you’re approaching the holiday season and still struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, the time to get help is now. The Springboard Center is ready to help those who are ready to help themselves, so don’t let addiction control you another day. Make the call: 432-620-0255