Being home for the holidays can be a great time for many people. The beautiful decorations, the much-needed time away from work, and seeing loved ones are always heartwarming. However, holidays can also be stressful for many people who are in recovery from addiction. This week, Infinite Recovery explores coming home for the holidays in recovery.

Come with a game plan

US News spoke with “Janet”, who works in one of AA’s central offices who shed light on certain issues for people in recovery. “During holiday gatherings, family dynamics can push anyone’s buttons. Have a quick exit strategy so you can leave anytime,” Janet says. “Or if the conversation gets heated, offer to help the host, start clearing dishes and duck out to the kitchen.”

The holidays are a time when many people’s attitudes towards drinking can shift. People who normally only have two to three drinks a week can begin to overindulge during these festive times as a means of celebration. This can lead to guards coming down and people speaking a more freely, leading to heated arguments or awkward conversation. These factors combined can lead to a very stressful time for anyone in recovery.

Find your “sober wingman”

Addiction psychiatrist and physician-in-chief at Silver Hill Hospital, Dr. Eric Collins recommends possibly staying with sober friends and not heading home for the holidays if you are new in recovery. He brings up that seeing old friends that a person used or drank with can be a difficult test. Collins goes on to state that ultimately, the decision falls on the individual though. He recommends bringing along a sober wingman to avoid the temptation of having “just one drink” with a friend or family member. His decisive point is a valid one. “Millions of people get through the holidays without relapsing,” Collins says. “It’s possible. And all the millions of people who have maintained sobriety for a long time all went through their first holiday season and subsequent ones. It’s doable. It’s really a function of getting the help one needs from a therapist, a substance use counselor, an AA sponsor and family and loved ones and friends.”

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction or alcoholism, get help now. Infinite Recovery offers a confidential hotline at (844) 206-9063 and our admissions team is available 24/7 online.

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