Early recovery is difficult for most people because you have to learn how to change people, places, and things. While there are many people in your life who can help to foster your recovery, there are old friends who may make your recovery hard to maintain. It’s important to remember that getting sober doesn’t mean that the rest of the world changes and that people are going to accept your new life. Whether it’s friends or family members, recovery can be especially difficult during certain times of the year.
The holidays are typically the hardest time of year to stay sober. Holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas may not only be filled with parties, but you might come from a family who drinks during the holidays. After that, you have New Year’s Eve, which is famous for drinking and partying. But what about the other smaller holidays that typically revolve around drinking? St. Patrick’s Day is an extremely fun holiday, but it can also be a catalyst for a relapse if you don’t plan ahead. By having a plan, you’ll be more prepared to make it through the holiday sober.
On a psychological level, having a plan is the best thing you can do. Dr. Roy Baumeister is an expert psychologist in a variety of areas, and one of his specialties is willpower. Baumeister and other psychologists like Kelly McGonigal have discovered that ego depletion is a real thing. Ego depletion can be thought of as your willpower fuel tank. As you continue to make decisions throughout the day, you have less willpower. When you make a plan prior to St. Patrick’s Day, you’ve reduced some of that cognitive load, which gives you a better chance of staying sober than trying to figure out a plan the day of.
Make Plans with Sober Friends
Addiction treatment is extremely beneficial, and you gain a lot of coping skills by working with your therapist. In therapy, you discover some of the root causes of addiction, and your therapist is there to help you process why you were turning to drugs and alcohol. Not only can they help you with mental health issues that you may have, but they’re also there to provide you with the tools you need to live a much better life. Aside from individual therapy, one of the most important aspects of addiction treatment is group therapy. Many people come into treatment feeling lost and alone, and they also feel like nobody understands. Meeting people in treatment shows you that there are people on the same path who know exactly what you’re going through.
In treatment, you learned the value of support groups, and they can also help you stay sober during holidays like St. Patrick’s Day. During this holiday, a great way to stay sober is to be with others who are also staying sober. There are plenty of fun things you can do without having a single sip of alcohol. One of the most common misconceptions about people in recovery is that they don’t have fun, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. On St. Patty’s Day, you and your friends in recovery can get together to cook, watch movies, and even make alcohol-free drinks with some green coloring to get into the holiday spirit.
If for some reason you’ll be around people who are drinking on this holiday, the best thing you can do is bring an accountability partner. Whether it’s someone in recovery or a friend or family member who supports your recovery, it’s a good idea to have someone there with you. Not only will they be there to help make sure that you stay sober, but they can also help support you if you start to have cravings. And if you want to leave, having someone with you gives you a good excuse to leave the gettogether if you’re not in the mood to stay there and watch people drink.
Go to a Meeting
One of the best things you can do on any day that’s challenging is to go to one of the many meetings that are available. In fact, this might be a good idea if you’re hanging out with your sober friends as well. Whether you bring friends and go as a group or go solo, a meeting can always be beneficial. Much like treatment, it’s important to know that you’re not alone in staying sober on a day like this. When you’re around people who don’t struggle with addiction, it’s easy to forget the first step; you are powerless over addiction and life is unmanageable. Going to a 12-step meeting is a reminder that you have a disease that needs to be treated on a daily basis.
At the meeting, you’ll have a great time with people who are just trying to stay sober one more day. You’ll also hear people share what they’re going through on St. Patrick’s Day and how they’re at a meeting to stay sober as well. People laugh and share about their history of follies on St. Patrick’s Day, and you’ll also hear from old-timers. Being around people who have been sober for years is always a great inspiration because they can share their experience of how they’ve made it through this holiday as well as many other holidays each year.
It’s Okay to Stay Home
There are a lot of pressures in life, and one of them is that you have to go out and have a great time whenever a holiday like this comes around. The reality is that some people are introverted, and many introverts developed a substance abuse problem to try and conform to people who always go out and party. Now that you’re sober, it’s important to realize that there’s nothing wrong with just having a quiet night in. Whether it’s by yourself reading a good book and watching movies or inviting a friend or two over, just remember that St. Patrick’s Day is just another day.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, Ethos Recovery is here to help. We provide addiction treatment services and resources for people who want to stay sober, so contact us today.