(WKBN) – The holidays are a time to celebrate. But for those in recovery, this time of year can be challenging.
This time of year poses more risks than others for those in recovery. That’s because of the stress that comes with the holidays.
This is a time that really highlights togetherness, but a lot of people can feel lonely, especially if their relationships with family and friends is complicated.
It’s also a time to get together and those in recovery are exposed to more triggers. And if you’re not celebrating at home, it takes you out of your normal routine.
Missy LaRock is a recreational therapist in the adult behavioral health unit at Trumbull Regional Medical Center. She said the most important thing is not to forget why you’re on the road to recovery and to surround yourself with the people who are there to help you.
“Whether you’re in recovery or not…People need people,” LaRock said. “We can really feel in the hospital when that isolation starts to kick in. It’s a downward spiral. Staying connected, being with others: it’s key to your health and stability especially in recovery.”
She says this doesn’t mean relapse is inevitable. However, she has some strategies to help make things somewhat easier this time of year.
She said become a planner. Figure out what your plans are, be aware of the triggers that you might face and have some strategies. She said it may help to attend a meeting before you go to a get together, so that you’re in a good place.
Call your sponsor before or after. Bring your own non-alcoholic drink and keep it in your hand…that way you have a sense of control. She says whatever your plans are this holiday season, you don’t need to go at them alone.
“Stay connected to your supports, your loved ones, your 12 step meetings. Isolation is the enemy. Stay connected,” she said. “Even if you don’t really feel in the mood to do so. The benefits are well worth the effort.”
She says to lean on the support from the people who know you are recovering. For those who might not know, she recommends having some prepared responses ready so you don’t find yourself in an uncomfortable situation.