Addiction Recovery .. it’s not just for Christmas
Doing addiction recovery, particularly early recovery, can be challenging, and at Christmas this challenge can be tougher. With increased triggers, pressure and the ghosts of Christmas past all potentially adding to the mix these tips for solid recovery are a present worth unwrapping.
Here Andrew Harvey, addictions therapist and counsellor, shares some tips and ideas that he has picked up during his years as a counsellor. He explains the origins of the ideas set out below – “the wisdom I share here has been shared with me by others in recovery. This is tried and tested, of course – use what works for you and leave what doesn’t”.
Keep up your recovery activity, whatever it is that you are doing and not doing to maintain your recovery. Carry on with this – addiction won’t be taking the holidays off, so nor should your recovery.
Don’t do it alone – several support groups are available to assist people in recovery, from the 12 Step Groups, SMART recovery peer support groups and online support. It’s good to have lots of people around you at Christmas including, if possible, friends and family. But when it comes to recovery, time to connect with someone else in recovery can be rewarding for both parties.
Don’t be pressured by others, your pride or your ego to do things that are risky. If you don’t go to the pub anymore, then don’t go to the pub. If the office party is going to be risky, don’t go.
Beware that you may be challenged more than on your average Wednesday in November, for many reasons – family, memories, people, indulgences, a flow of triggering images and sounds via social media and television. Happy times can be full of joy and triggers all at the same time.
Many people who work the 12-step programme look to the programme and others in their fellowship for guidance, particularly when facing challenges to recovery, as an unlimited source of support and recovery capital. Another support group that offers recovery assets is SMART recovery, You can get support from them online, at meetings and via their publications.
Have a plan, tools and skills for dealing with cravings, – this article by Andrew offers a number of powerful tools to help you deal skilfully with cravings.
Spend some time reflecting at the start of each day on what is helpful for your recovery today, why you are in recovery and what might be difficult in the next 24 hours, then plan from there.
Most of all enjoy Christmas! Recovery brings many gifts, and one of the best is the gift to be our best selves for ourselves and others.