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The Challenges of Early Recovery During the Holidays

Whether you celebrate Christmas or another holiday, December can be an extremely rough month for anyone in recovery from active addiction. When you’re in early recovery, it’s the most difficult part of the recovery process. During the holidays, you may still have family members who have not yet forgiven you for your active addiction. Others may struggle with staying sober because this might be the first holiday you’re spending sober in years. No matter what your challenges are, know that you’re not alone, and you can get through it. 

The Depression Factor

Addressing and treating your mental health and depression is one of the leading causes for relapse during the holiday season for people in early recovery. Some of this has to do with your brain healing from your substance abuse. Now that you’re not giving your brain dopamine with the substances, it’s trying to create neurotransmitters on its own. This is why it’s crucial to follow your aftercare plan after you leave detox and treatment. 

Treating your depression may involve medications you were given, but mostly, it’s the holistic methods that help strengthen your recovery and help you overcome your depression. Making sure that you’re staying active and healthy during this time of year is crucial. Depression can make you want to stay in bed this season, but that’s only going to make things worse. 

The best thing you can do for your depression this holiday season is to rely on your support group. As you’ve learned in 12-step programs and group therapy, you’re never alone in your struggles. This season, surround yourself with others who are having a difficult time. Not only will they help lift you up, but you’ll be doing them a great service by being there for them as well. 

Dealing with Family

Getting sober and staying sober is challenging, and you may expect recognition for that. It’s easy to forget the pain that your family has gone through during your addiction. Understanding that it may take time for them to heal, trust you again and forgive you can make dealing with family during the holidays a little bit less difficult. 

If you’re going to be with family for the holidays, the first thing to do is be grateful. There are many people in your position that have family members that still don’t want to talk to them. Although your family may say things that upset you, remember that they’re going through a process just like you are. 

Before going to spend time with your family, make sure you have people from your support group ready to help you through this time. Letting your support group know that you may need to call or text them can save you if you’re struggling to be around your family. It may also be beneficial to bring someone from your support group with you. This can be helpful as well, and you’ll be of service if your friend doesn’t have somewhere to go for the holidays. 

Think of Others

In recovery, we learn that we keep what we have by giving it away. Being of service is one of the guaranteed ways to maintain your sobriety. The holidays present you with ample opportunities to be of service to others. The disease of addiction is one that makes you only think of yourself, and this is why it’s so important to help those who are in need. 

Throughout Atlantic City County, there are plenty of ways to give back to the community. Whether it’s helping the homeless or simply going to a meeting. By going to meetings this holiday season and sharing your experience, strength and hope, you’ll be helping others. Showing people that you can stay sober one day at a time will inspire them to do the same. 

At the end of the day, remember that the holidays are just another day for you to get through clean and sober, and we do this one day at a time. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, call Enlightened Solutions detox today at 833-233-7336.

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