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The holiday season is upon us. The five weeks from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day are filled with holiday parties, shopping and family time, but for many people this time of year is the most stressful.

 

Stress from family conflicts, stress from maxing out the credit card on gifts, stress from feeling guilty for over-eating, stress from over commitments. Holiday stress can be especially rough on the millions of people in recovery for drug or alcohol addiction.

 

Audrey Crouch, an Intake Supervisor at the Greenhouse, a leading provider of substance abuse treatment services for individuals with drug and/or alcohol addiction, offers these three tips for staying clean and sober this holiday season. 

 

Have a Support System in Place. Look at the calendar and see what events might cause you stress; for example, a holiday party at your boss’ house or Thanksgiving with your mother-in-law. Consider going to a Twelve Step meeting or calling your sponsor or a friend in recovery before the event. Make sure you can leave at any time and are not reliant on someone else for transportation. That way, if temptation hits, you can make a beeline for the door.

 

Avoid Stressful Situations. If you know your friend Fred is going to bring drugs to a party, avoid him. If you know your sister is going to get crazy drunk at Thanksgiving dinner, sit at the other end of the table. If you know going to the mall on Black Friday will push all your buttons, stay home and shop online. If you can’t avoid a stressful situation then always have an exit plan so you can hightail it out of there before you risk falling back into the spiral of addiction.

 

Be on Offense, Not Defense. For most of us, the holidays are an emotional roller coaster. There is pressure and expectations every way you turn. Instead of feeling continuous joy, we are on a cycle of joy followed by stress, frustration, exhaustion or even depression. At the beginning of each holiday season, sit down with your sponsor, a friend or a counselor and discuss your expectations for the holidays. Identify people, events and situations that might push you back into addiction and create an action plan for how to ensure they don’t derail your recovery.  

 

By following the tips above, you can help yourself or someone you know in recovery start 2015 clean and sober.

 

Author Bio:

Audrey Crouch is an Intake Supervisor at the Greenhouse Treatment Center. She has a degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling from the University of North Texas and is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. Along with her education in the field of addiction she has sustained 10 years of personal recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. 

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