One of the biggest festivities of the year, St Patrick’s Day is upon us and this year the holiday season is longer than usual with two bank holidays together. Like many annual holidays and festivities they can present challenges for those in recovery, anxiety and tension may be heightened in anticipation for the days ahead. This can be a particularly challenging time for those who feel desperate for recovery but have not yet committed to a recovery process and anyone in their first year of recovery.
Enjoy your St Patrick’s Day bank holiday weekend. Shift your perspective on the days ahead and go into them feeling strong and confident with a good recovery plan in place. Go to dinner, see a movie, go running, walking or hiking, enjoy good food, coffee with friends, shopping, a good book, early nights, restful mornings, hot showers, fun with the family and the simple feeling of being out in nature. Recovery is about living again and not just sobriety.
Stay recovery strong and take some time to map out and plan in advance how the holiday break will look for you. Visualize how you want the next few days to go, identify the challenges you might have, make your own plans to celebrate with people who support your recovery. This is the time to maintain strong boundaries with yourself and others and pre-empt triggers and potentials for slips.
Remember people, places and things are triggering so be clever in how you plan your next few days. Too much time with others or too much time alone could compromise your recovery.
Shift your perspective on the days ahead and go into them feeling strong and confident with a good recovery plan in place.
Always avoid putting yourself into social situations that will be difficult to manage, people can be very persuasive and the buzz of celebrations can be intoxicating. Urges, slips and relapses can be exceptionally impulsive in the wrong environments and by removing yourself completely from those situations you are making your recovery focus easier.
If you are using a diary as a recovery tool then take a few moments to sit down and plan out each day into your diary, find your own way to celebrate and enjoy the holiday break. Try the 10 minute daily recovery checkin exercise. There are so many fun, relaxing and simple ways to enjoy yourself in recovery. Ask for the support of your partner, family or friends and take this as an opportunity to go out and do something new together. See it as a chance to connect with others in meaningful ways.
Stay grounded and focused, remember why you are in recovery today. Write the list out again if you are losing track of your sense of purpose. It’s easy to get caught up in the short term buzz of the holiday season and throw caution to the wind so shifting your focus to longer term plans might benefit you right now. Holidays and festivities like St Patricks Day are milestone events to work through in the first year of recovery and celebrate on the other side.
This is the time to be your own recovery cheerleader and plan out each day for recovery success – you won’t regret it.
For those in recovery from alcohol and substances, St Patricks Day can feel like a real challenge because it means not only practicing and maintaining sobriety but also changing completely how you socialize over the holiday’s and changing what it means to you. You are not letting anyone down by putting yourself and your family first. Mentally start practicing simple refusal skills. Let people know well in advance what your plans are so that you won’t need to keep practicing refusal skills or explaining yourself.
Having large periods of time free and a different routine can present challenges for those in recovery from process addictions such as gambling addiction and pornography addiction. Alcohol can be a huge trigger and predictor of relapse for anyone in recovery from process addictions, make sure to limit, reduce or refrain from alcohol during predictably challenging times. Reduce screen time and take long breaks from the smartphone which as we all know poses many challenges to those in recovery from process addictions. Stay strong in your recovery intentions and keep telling yourself you are in control.
Lean into your support group network over the next few days. Identify what self help support meetings are available to you and write them in your diary to have as an option. Many people will attend daily meetings over the festive period and this is a good idea for anyone who is feeling uneasy and insecure in their early recovery.
This is the time to be your own recovery cheerleader and plan out each day for recovery success – you won’t regret it! Get intouch with me email@example.com when it’s over and let me know what worked for you.