Mindful Sobriety for Holidays
Navigating Thanksgiving and Holiday Triggers
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Mindfully Navigating Holiday Gatherings
Sobriety Step 1 – Mindfully Evaluate Habitual Interactions with Family and Friends
Sobriety Step 2 – Make a Plan to Deal with Emotional Triggers
Sobriety Step 3 – Use Mindfulness to Stay Present
Thanksgiving Sobriety Planning
Here we are at another Thanksgiving and Holiday Season. Happy Thanksgiving!
For many, this can include visits with friends and family. And for many, those visits will be a minefield of relapse triggers.
For those without family or friends to visit – Thanksgiving and winter holidays are a lonely time that can also be a major trigger and challenge to sobriety.
Holiday Sobriety Planning Tips
- Make a firm and unshakable resolve to remain Sober.
- Remember self care: Check H.A.L.T. – Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.
- Avoid people, places and things that bring memories of previous drinking or drugging.
- Have Strategies and a Plan for Relapse Prevention in Place; know potential obstacles.
- Self Regulate and Communicate; Return to Common Ground Topics
- Manage emotions; use Mindfulness to stay in the present moment.
- Attend recovery support group meetings, such as SMART Recovery, AA, NA, ACA, NarAnon
- If family gatherings are too stressful or toxic – attend support group meetings and/or spend time with supportive friends.
- Use mindfulness to acknowledge and work with emotions – do not ‘bury’ unpleasant emotions.
- Allow yourself to have Real Fun – Sober. Create new sober holiday traditions.
- Give Thanks: Implement ‘Gratitude as an Attitude‘ whenever possible.
- Sobriety is the Priority. (And have a back-up plan in place).
Drug and Alcohol Rehab Options, East Bay and Northern California
In the Northern California area – New Start Recovery Solutions has convenient locations for Medical Detox, Residential or Outpatient Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment with Dual Diagnosis (Co-occurring Disorders) Integrated Treatment.
Long-term addiction recovery is dependent on discarding habitual behaviors – and instead engaging in new sober activities.
Clients are introduced to new habits, rituals, and wellness techniques for mind, body and spirit. Holistic recovery in the residential program at New Start Recovery Solutions includes evidence-based addiction treatment along with mindfulness practices, yoga, tai chi and positive psychology.
Mindfully Navigating Holiday Gatherings
Step 1 – Mindfully Evaluate Your Habitual Interactions with Family and Friends
Before Thanksgiving, create a list of ways your family or friends usually trigger negative emotions. Be honest with yourself without judgement.
The ‘trigger list’ can be hand-written or typed on your computer or mobile device. The act of actively and mindfully considering – and then recording – emotional triggers is an important process. Be honest with yourself without applying any judgement. Everyone has emotions and negative emotional triggers. There is no evaluation required for emotional triggers – having emotional triggers does not make an individual a ‘bad’ person. It means we are human.
Make a careful consideration regarding your situation. If family or friends are too toxic to deal with at this time – or they are actively engaged in substance abuse – it may be better to find other socialization and support during holidays.
Step 2 – Make a Plan to Deal with Emotional Triggers
Create a plan to mindfully deal with holiday gatherings and interactions. Prepare to succeed in practicing mindful presence at holiday gatherings.
Avoid building expectations based on wishful thinking and avoidance of reality. Wishful thinking can include elements such as:
• ‘This is the year we all get along’
• ‘This is the year my relatives (or friends or co-workers) really understand and appreciate me’
• ‘This is the year a holiday miracle happens!’
→ With intense national elections coming up soon: Do Not Attempt to Discuss Politics.
Prepare ways to politely sidestep tense conversations and interactions.
• Go outside for a breath of fresh air.
• Help in the preparations.
• Play a video game with the kids.
• Proactively use compassion and kindness in interactions.
Be the first to compliment a grouchy relative on their new hair style. Tell your exhausted sister or brother that they are doing well in work or as parents. Make positive remarks whenever possible.
Step 3 – Use Mindfulness to Stay Present
What is mindfulness? Mindfulness is having the internal focus to be quietly aware of your own thoughts and impulses – without judgment and without acting on the impulses.
Studies have shown that alterations in brain and immune function are produced by mindfulness meditation. With mindfulness practice, new neural networks are created in the brain.
Mindfulness meditation research shows that Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention is effective. Study results find that mindfulness interrupts reactive behaviors and encourages thoughtful and skillful responses to relapse triggers.
VA Community Care Provider for residential PTSD Dual Diagnosis Treatment.
• Each patient is evaluated by New Start Recovery Solutions staff and receives a biopsychosocial assessment; and an individualized treatment plan.
• We use Mindfulness Relapse Prevention and other whole person evidence-based therapies; including CBT, yoga, tai chi and more.
• If you or your loved one is located in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Bay Area, Sacramento, Chico, Paradise, Redding, Martinez or other northern California area – and are dealing with a drug abuse or an alcohol use disorder – welcome to evidence-based whole person addiction treatment at New Start Recovery Solutions.
Your Life Awaits – Make a New Start Now
New Start Recovery Solutions
2449 Pacheco Street
Concord CA 94520