Psychology Magazine

Successful Recovery: Entering the Holiday Battlezone-Part 1

By Garrickkreitzer @GarrickKreitzer

My previous post addressed the human construct of self-identity and the challenges self-identity poses for the newly sober during the holiday season. Now let’s look at some ways people in early sobriety can protect themselves over the holidays and give them the best chance for success as they enter the “holiday battlezone.”

Each one of us has strong emotions tied to the holidays. Good and bad ones. These emotions will appear suddenly and without warning. They fly so far under our level of awareness that when they hit us and we are unprepared, it is too late.

This is one reason why those new to recovery have a difficult time maintaining their sobriety over the holiday season. They have yet to develop the coping skills necessary to work through the strong emotions they feel. Additionally, they don’t have the experience using the tools needed to successfully navigate the precarious situations in which they might find themselves. They are under-prepared to fight off the many threats to their sobriety – threats that are abundant during the holidays.

For those of us experiencing the holiday season sober, for the first time, it is like entering into battle. Like any battle, we must plan ahead. We must strategize to limit the chance for surprises and maximize the chance for success. Then we must develop contingency plans in case we find ourselves in a predicament.

So let’s think of your time leading up to the holidays as boot camp. You must gain the training necessary for the battle that lays ahead. The following are your guidelines…

(to be continued in Part 2)

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