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Recovery Friendly Holiday Tips

The holidays are upon us. The CAF Reentry/HOPE Team Manager Jon Fairbanks, iFPRS and Housing Program Coordinator, Jenny Hagerup, iFPRS share some tips for making and keeping your holidays recovery friendly. Every time you choose recovery, you strengthen the person you chose to be. If your family is tough to be with for long periods, TAKE BREAKS! Limit your time around stressful situations or difficult people. Recovery Allies can learn how to create an environment that supports recovery during the holidays too, share this list with them. Communicate your needs to truly create a Recovery Friendly holiday season.

1. Practice good self-care throughout the holidays

  • Get Proper Nutrition

  • Exercise

  • Get Quality sleep

  • Take Quiet time for relaxation or meditation

  • Listen to music.

  • Dance and sing loudly, by yourself, in your car, with a pet or a loved one.

2. Create a Holiday escape plan

  • Set up your own transportation to and from the gathering. Have a plan. Have money set up for an Uber or a ride from a friend or family member.

  • Prepare to politely refuse alcohol or other drugs

  • If you feel anxious, go outside, take a walk, do some deep breathing and stretch.

  • If you hate the topic of conversation, excuse yourself and leave the area.

  • Attend a twelve-step meeting beforehand, or invite a sober friend to tag along

  • Going out of town? Look up a meeting before you get there

3. Be of service

  • Serve a meal at a homeless shelter

  • Reach out to a newcomer at a meeting

  • Spend time with an elderly loved one or neighbor.

  • Help out in the family kitchen

4. Have your props ready!

  • Have a non-alcoholic drink in your hand. Bring your favorite along. People will not feel so inclined to offer you a drink if they see you already have a drink in your hand

5. Bring Recovery Materials

  • Bring along your favorite recovery book, journal, or any other recovery oriented literature - this can help you stay on track if a trigger occurs

6. Maintain your spirituality

  • Remember why you chose recovery. Write down who you were before this--all the gritty, gross aspects of who you were. Now write all the benefits, internal and external, of recovery.

  • Focus on giving and gratitude. This will prevent feelings such as resentment, disappointment, anger, and self loathing

If life is showing up, show up for life! Be present. Grant yourself the grace to feel all your feelings, but don't sit in them if they’re harmful. Feel anger, move your body to move past it. Feel anxious, then move your body to move through it. Take deep breaths and see yourself living the best version of yourself - because you are! Know that being in recovery is about living our best life!

Love the person you've become. Through all the darkness, you climbed out to shine, to grow.


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