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The holidays are a busy time when people are celebrating, traveling, and coming together to enjoy the season. For people in recovery, however, this time of year can be difficult for several reasons. 

If you have an unsupportive family, you may be worried about staying sober during the holidays. With the right plan in place, healthy boundaries, and outside support, you will be able to maintain your sobriety and find your own joy during the holiday season.

Setting Healthy Boundaries for Staying Sober

Setting healthy boundaries with family during the holidays is absolutely crucial. Your recovery is important and should be protected during this time. 

If your family is unsupportive, you should clearly communicate boundaries for things that you will not tolerate. If your family consumes drugs or alcohol during the holidays, let them know you won’t be around. It may be hard at first to exercise this type of bluntness, but the more you stay consistent in your boundaries, the easier it will become.

It’s Okay to Say No

Many people in recovery feel as if they have to make up for lost time with loved ones when they were using substances. If you have an unsupportive family, they may even try to make you feel guilty for lost time. The most important thing to remember is that your recovery journey is your own, and you come first. Staying sober during the holidays should be your number one priority. 

If family pressures you to be available for help whenever they need it, you should learn how to say “no” to them with confidence. You don’t have to attend every party or gathering, either. 

Unsupportive families may not care if there are drugs or alcohol around during the holidays. This is a good opportunity for you to practice saying “no” to being around these potentially dangerous situations. Let your family know that staying sober is important to you, and if they can’t respect that, then you won’t be around.

Avoid Triggers

The holiday season can bring about a lot of different triggers for people who are trying to stay sober. A good exercise is to identify your addiction triggers so you can avoid them as much as possible if they do come up. 

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the holiday season is a time that is “wrought with triggers such as songs, scents, and rituals.” Triggers can come in any shape or form. It’s important not to judge yourself for the things that trigger you, especially during the holidays.

You may feel pressure from an unsupportive family or feel triggered by an increased presence of alcohol and other substances. Understanding your triggers will help you stay sober and find lasting success in your recovery.

Find Support Outside of Family

To stay sober during the holidays, it’s important to have a strong support system. When you aren’t receiving support from family, you will have to seek support from programs, groups, and even clinical staff. 

Staying sober can be difficult when you try to do it all on your own. The people who find the most success in sobriety are those who know how to lean on others for accountability and guidance. When you have the right people in your corner, you can build confidence in yourself and your recovery. 

Clinical Support in Outpatient Programs

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is a chronic disease, and people “can’t simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured.” NIDA states that most people need long-term or repeated care to heal their lives and find lasting sobriety.

Staying sober during the holidays will be a lot easier if you’re enrolled in an outpatient treatment program or recovery group. Quality outpatient programs will give you the care you need to overcome your addiction and lend support when it’s needed most.

Outpatient programs like partial hospitalization programs (PHP) or intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are designed to give you a full, comprehensive treatment plan. Enrolling in a PHP or IOP will give you the structure you need throughout your days to stay on a steady path to sobriety.

Recovery coaching is another option for those who have an unsupportive family during the holiday season. A recovery coach will be there to listen to your struggles and help you make a plan to navigate the holidays with confidence. 

Peer Support

Peer support is one of the best elements of addiction treatment and recovery programs. Peers who have gone through similar struggles will understand you more than anyone else.

Group therapy is a major part of any addiction treatment program. Groups usually meet throughout the week to discuss their progress, their struggles, and goals. Therapy in small groups, specifically, is known to have many advantages. When a group is small, you know that your unique voice will be heard, making it easier for you to bond with peers and find accountability. 

According to SAMHSA, group therapy has many therapeutic advantages. Group therapy can promote social support, reduce feelings of stigma and isolation, and help you develop effective communication and interpersonal skills. 

You can also find peer support in outside recovery groups like 12-Step programs. These programs are designed to facilitate group discussion, promote accountability, and help you feel less alone throughout your recovery journey.

If your family is unsupportive, you can still find many ways to help you stay sober during the holidays. Always remember that you come first, and you can enjoy the holiday season with the right people in your corner.

The holiday season is usually a time for family and celebration. However, for those with an unsupportive family, staying sober may seem difficult. With the right plan of action, you can still find the support you need to stay sober during the holidays. At Lighthouse Recovery Texas, you will find many different means of support throughout the holidays and all year long. Our partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs are designed to help you build confidence in your sobriety and navigate the holiday season. Group therapy at Lighthouse contains small groups of no more than eight people. This small group setting will help you feel more at home and find true support and accountability. Call us today at (214) 396-0259.