Whether you are newly sober or have been substance-free for years, the holiday season brings its fair share of challenges when it comes to maintaining sobriety. This year, with the current restrictions surrounding COVID-19, the holidays may feel even more difficult as people find themselves feeling incredibly disconnected or alone.
At Seneca Health Services, we want you to remember that you are never alone — we are always here for you. Fortunately, there are many ways you can prepare for the upcoming holiday season and get through it without a relapse. Continue reading to learn more.
Address Potential Triggers Ahead of Time
If you have recently lost a loved one, ended a relationship or know you will be around others who may offer you a drink or drug, plan ahead of time. The holiday season can be filled with many potential triggers, and that is why it is so critical to address them ahead of time. Talking with someone who understands and cares can help you process your grief and loneliness and reduce the risk of relapse. Avoiding a family dinner or holiday party where drugs or alcohol may be present, while it may be difficult, can help you stay focused on your recovery goal — and that is what is most important.
While there will probably be fewer holiday parties this season due to the pandemic, if you decide to attend any small get-togethers, you will want to ensure that you have an exit plan. Consider going with a trusted friend or family member or calling someone supportive of your sobriety before and after the event is over. Keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hand, so people will be less likely to ask you if you want an alcoholic one. If there is a possibility that you will feel uncomfortable while you are there, make sure that you have transportation available so you can leave. And once again, consider skipping the event if its risk is too significant. There is no harm in rethinking your holiday obligations.
Stay Connected to your Support Network
Whether you are going to holiday gatherings or spending time by yourself, staying connected to your support network is crucial during the holiday season. Consider creating a schedule when you will check in with trusted friends, family members and or your peer recovery coach to keep you accountable. If you attend a recovery group, be sure to find out if they are still holding in-person meetings; some have transitioned to an online format due to COVID-19. However, thanks to technology, there are many options available to keep you connected to your support network during this time.
Focus on Holiday Activities that Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
There are many ways to enjoy this holiday season and still avoid alcohol and drugs. Spend this time of year focusing on the joys of the season like decorating the tree, baking, making decorations and spending time (even virtually) with “like-minded” people. It is also the perfect time of year to serve others. Serve food at a homeless shelter, donate items to those in need or help an elderly neighbor shovel the snow that has found its way to their driveway. There are many safe ways to give back to your community this holiday season.
Take Time for Yourself
Do not forget to take some time for yourself during the holidays, too. Create a daily routine that includes eating balanced meals, exercising and getting enough sleep. Spend some time connecting with loved ones or others who are in recovery. Finally, partake in some activities that you enjoy — whether it be cooking, listening to music, watching a movie, playing an instrument or expressing yourself through art or journaling.
Speak with a Professional | Staying Sober with the Help of Seneca Health Services
If you cannot stop thinking about alcohol or drugs or have experienced a relapse, you should contact one of our trained behavioral health professionals. Reaching out is hard, but we want you to know that our team of psychiatrists, social workers, therapists, nurses, case managers and other professional staff at Seneca Health Services are here to help. We personalize our patients’ care so that they receive adequate treatment. We listen to you and will not provide any more or any less than what you need.
We offer crisis assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year to assist and support individuals, arrange and coordinate treatment services, assist with ensuring basic needs are met, encourage the use of natural supports and provide linkage to a variety of community support systems. Our highly trained behavioral health professionals are passionate about helping people find the life they want to live.
If you need residential treatment over the holidays, our medical staff also serves our residential treatment programs, Crosswinds Center, a short-term residential treatment program located in Maxwelton, and Recovery Ridge, a substance use residential treatment program located in Summersville.
If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact the Seneca office nearest you.
Greenbrier County, West Virginia: (304) 497-0500
Nicholas County, West Virginia: (304) 872-2659
Pocahontas County, West Virginia: (304) 799-6865
Webster County, West Virginia: (304) 847-5425