The holidays can be joyful – and stressful. To help the holidays be healthy days, we offer these time-tested tips for those in recovery.
• Take good care of yourself. The holidays can be extra stressful, so be sure to create time and space for daily relaxation, meditation and mindfulness. Exercise, get some sunshine every day, and make sure you get plenty of sleep.
• View each day through a lens of gratitude. Write down your blessings each and every day.
• Spend time with your recovery community. The holidays can be lonely, so reach out to others – for them and for you.
• Make a list of people you can call who will provide support if your recovery feels shaky.
• Set the stage for sober celebrations. If your family members are big drinkers or have other addictions, you may choose to avoid the celebrations they host. Instead, invite them to celebrate with you on your terms in a setting that won’t trigger bad behavior from anyone.
• Bolster your support system. Reach out more often to your therapist, sponsor, spiritual advisor or support group.
• Find positive ways to celebrate. Spend time with people who bring you happiness and joy. Avoid people who bring you down and the gatherings where drugs or alcohol are the main event
• Give yourself the gift of freedom by getting rid of resentments.
• Make plans for parties. Build in accountability by making plans to check in with your support system before and after you go to a holiday party. Attend festive events with someone who supports your abstinence. Plan ahead for an easy exit by driving yourself or using a rideshare service like Uber.
• Tap into the spiritual base of the holidays. Focus on your relationship with your Higher Power, and the beauty of unselfish giving and service to others.
Thoughts from John Perry, Co-Founder, Clean & Sober Recovery Services, Inc.
Communities across the nation are reeling from prescription pain medication abuse, heroin overdoses, and chronic alcohol abuse that is spiraling out of control. And it’s not getting better: A recent study showed that older American adults are drinking more alcohol than ever.
We’re all impacted by alcohol or drug misuse or abuse, even if it’s not happening under our own roof. Think about your friend’s child who died from an overdose…. your loved one who is injured by a drunk driver…the neighborhood burglaries fueled by addiction to costly prescription medications. What about our overcrowded prisons and millions of Veterans addicted to pain-numbing medications? Each of these impact us, and – even more acutely – the parent, child, sibling or friend of each and every statistic.
Thoughts from Don Troutman, Founder, Clean & Sober Transitional Living
Last January, Sacramento’s Mayor Steinberg, the Board of Supervisors and Sacramento City Council members met to discuss solutions to our region’s homelessness crisis. Advocates for every segment of the homeless – youth, families, addicts and alcoholics – overflowed from the meeting chambers into the foyer.
After presentations by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, passionate representatives from every facet of the community made their case for services and support. Their brief but cordial requests featured a common thread: the quest for connection to assistance and the right resources.
It is reassuring to know there was representation for the homeless who struggle with alcohol or other drugs. After all, they represent 25% of the region’s homeless, according to the January 2016 homeless count. Their ranks may be even bigger today, in light of the opioid epidemic barreling our way.
What’s the difference between a “substance abuser” and “substance use disorder?” Well, one of these terms opens the door to unconscious bias, punitive attitudes and reduced quality of care. Learn how to harness the positive power of language in dealing with a stigmatizing disease.