Getting through the holidays in recovery can be tough, especially in early recovery.
I remember my first Christmas in recovery. I was in a very structured recovery home. I had just passed 90 days sober… The first true 90 days abstinent from all substances in 6 years of trying to get clean. It was a very big deal to me.
I knew Christmas was coming, but also knew the program I was in was very strict with their policy around seeing family especially during the holidays. Every individual had different guidelines set up for them as the holidays arrived, but you know, I am different. I was different in my own mind that is. I actually thought I was entitled to see my family, well, just because. Yes, I was ridiculous in early recovery to be quite frank.
When the time came for a discussion about going home, the answer was an immediate no. Let me fill you in with a little more info. My parents didn’t even ask me to come home. I assumed the family that I just terrorized for 6 years would just welcome me home with 90 days sober. Talk about being delusional, let me tell you.
What I can tell you is that I am so grateful I was not allowed home. They were kind enough to allow my parents to come see me and take me out for breakfast. Something typically, they don’t do. They told me I would be at a 24 hour round the clock support meeting to network with people to see how amazing this thing called recovery really is. If I had missed witnessing this support meeting that is 24 hours on holidays to help us get through tough times, I would have missed out on something literally impossible to explain. It was surreal. I will leave it at that.
As you can see from my experience, that being around family and or a big party was not good for me around the holidays. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I just trusted the process.
Many of us are devastated not being with family around the holidays or have a really tough time getting through the holidays sober. What is tough also, is to trust and believe you don’t necessarily need to be home during the holidays to be ok. I know that seems hard to believe but it is quite true.
Whatever we as people in recovery need to do to stay sober, we must do! If that means being around your recovery network during the holidays in early recovery, then you should. We are useless to anyone without being sober, so if missing a holiday or two to have the rest of them back I believe is more than an even trade off.
Sometimes the choice may be ours to not attend family parties during the holidays. Also, sometimes it may not be our choice. Maybe it is too soon for family to be ok with us…and guess what? That is ok too. Being sober at the end of the day is what is most important because there is no family without sobriety. I can tell you I am so grateful I wasn’t around my whole family my first Christmas sober. I wasn’t ready for all the questions and pressure. Because of that I have now spent the past 14 holidays with my whole family. Hopefully this helps someone during these challenging times! Happy Holidays!