The holiday season is finally here, and people can feel the festivities wherever they go. However, if you are on a journey to addiction recovery, you may not be feeling as festive as everyone else. The good news is there is plenty to be done to reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety this season. More importantly, to reduce the feelings of temptation that may drive you back to drugs and/or alcohol abuse.
Our experts at The Sands Treatment Center have put together helpful tips so you can navigate the holiday season stress-free.
Don’t Deviate from Your Normal Routine
Addiction recovery is a long journey. As a result, many individuals create a routine to stay on track. Even though the holidays can get chaotic, try to stick to your routine as best as you can. Exercise at the same time every day, attend group meetings regularly and don’t skip appointments with your therapist. All these activities will ensure that your mind and body stay healthy. In addition to maintaining your routine, try to get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night. If you can’t, just keep in mind that quality sleep is more important than quantity.
Don’t forget that the holiday season gets in the way of everybody’s lives. Shops are closed, people are on vacation, and life overall seems to be put on hold. As a result, it’s advised to know the schedules of the meetings and people you depend on most.
Find out if group meetings will be held on different dates or canceled altogether. Ask your sponsor if s/he will be out of town for the holidays. If they are not going to be readily available, find a “backup” sponsor in the meantime. The same goes for your therapist. It’s advised to ask in advance if s/he will be out of town and schedule your sessions accordingly. When you find yourself with gaps in your schedule that aren’t usually there, fill up that time with constructive activities or rest and relaxation.
Remember Your Triggers
Addiction recovery is a long and sometimes challenging journey. Therefore, it is important to know all the things that trigger you. Remember these triggers during the holidays and avoid them whenever possible.
Are you triggered by large crowds, gatherings with alcohol and loud music, or a particular person? The holiday season is already hectic, so this isn’t the time to test your discipline. If there are invitations you must turn down, don’t feel bad about doing it. Maintaining your health and abstinence is most important.
Stay Sober with a Friend
If the holidays, in general, are a trigger and you need extra support, consider getting through it with someone. It’s always easier to handle challenging situations with somebody else. If there is someone you attended treatment with or see at group meetings who may also be struggling, suggest supporting each other during the holidays.
If the holidays come around and you don’t have anywhere to go, this can lead to depression, which can result in a relapse. Fill your time with a rewarding activity, like volunteering. By volunteering with the less fortunate, it can fill the gaps in your schedule that would have otherwise been spent alone.
“Do” The Holidays
It’s likely that we have all been there: the season comes around and we decide not to “do” the holidays. Even if you feel overwhelmed, an important part of maintaining your health is being close to loved ones. While we do not recommend you burn yourself out attending every invitation extended to you, carve out time for friends and family, and “do” the holidays this year. Otherwise, you may find yourself combatting a serious case of the holiday blues.
We understand how hectic this time of year can be for most, particularly individuals who are recovering from addiction. If you are committed to staying sober and you aren’t sure how to begin, we strongly recommend utilizing these tips. Not only you will get to enjoy the festivities, but you will also avoid relapse.
If you are someone you know is struggling and needs extra support this season, reach out to The Sands Treatment Center. Learn about the options available to you, such as inpatient/outpatient programs, 12-step programs, and holistic cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Call (844)200-2509 today.Learn More
Addiction correlates with mental health, which is why meditation is such an effective tool for individuals during their addiction recovery. Mindfulness meditation is the practice of intense self-awareness and interpretation in a non-judgmental manner. It is designed to improve one’s mental well-being, reduce stress, and enable one to be more accepting of themselves and others. It is an effective treatment for individuals who struggle with substance abuse because it improves their self-control, self-confidence, and overall mental health.
This may all sound good and well, but as most know, getting into meditation comes with a few challenges. The mind is often resistant to sitting in silence, doing nothing, which can create a major obstacle to overcome. So, how can you get started as a beginner? Here are some tips to apply.
Find a Good Time and Location
You should make a commitment to practice meditation daily. Most people choose a specific time in the day that works with their schedule. This can be in the morning before going to work, or after work as a means of relieving the stress of the day. All you need is 10-15 minutes to achieve this. Once you have picked a good time, the next important step is to choose the right location. This should be a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. Choosing the same time and place will help turn this practice into a habit. Consistency is key to making it a part of your routine.
Think About Your Posture
When people think about meditation, they imagine individuals sitting crossed-legged with both hands on both knees. This is not the only way to meditate. You can sit in a chair, lean against a wall, sit on the floor, or on a cushion. What matters is that you are sitting upright (back is straight) and you are in a relaxed pose with your chin slightly tucked in.
Choose Vocal or Silent Meditation
There is a common misconception that you must meditate in silence. This is not the case. There is another method that is equally as effective called vocal meditation. This is where a mantra or chant is played in the background while you meditate. One style of meditation isn’t better than the other. It’s all about choosing the method you prefer most. As a beginner, try both and see which is more effective. Some people have difficulty sitting in silence, while others can’t concentrate their mind when a mantra is being played in the background. Learn your preferred method.
Defocus Your Eyes, Concentrate on Breathing
Defocusing your eyes is similar to staring into space. Pick a spot in the middle distance to achieve this. Take deep, audible breaths. Your breathing should be similar to breathing when you exercise: in through the nose, out through the mouth. Do this five times. Then close your eyes and begin the process of mindfulness meditation.
Observe Your Body
Acknowledge what your body is feeling, like the chair or cushion you’re sitting on, or the chill of the AC on your skin. Also, acknowledge your senses. What are you smelling, touching, feeling, tasting? What is your body experiencing – relaxation or discomfort? Take a moment to acknowledge everything your body experiences but make no changes. Finally, think about your mood but again make no attempts to alter it.
Keep the Calm
When your 10-15 minutes are up, don’t jump into a stressful activity. It is better to think about what you are going to do before you exit meditation. Throughout the day, check-in with your body as you did during meditation. Take a few deep breaths and acknowledge how you feel, possible discomforts, tension, and lack of clarity.
Over time, mindfulness meditation can be an effective strategy to stay sober after leaving an addiction treatment center in South Florida. It will give you more control over your life, and help you become more aware of the changes you may not be able to make on your own. You may begin to feel more optimistic about the future and all the ways you plan to improve yourself. It can even help treat any underlying mental issue that triggered your substance abuse, such as depression or PTSD.
It is important to note that mindful meditation should not be used to replace traditional treatment. If you are struggling with addiction, visit the Sands Treatment Center. Together, we will find the right program to treat your condition. Call (844)200-2509 to get started.Learn More