Stress is a common relapse trigger, especially during the holiday season as complex family dynamics threaten to derail a festive celebration. Stay on top of your sobriety and your relationships with these tips for a more peaceful holiday.

  1. Have Realistic Expectations

Experts agree the best way to manage holiday-related stress is to keep your expectations realistic. If you’re a parent with small children who get cranky during long car rides, limit your travel time. If you know money is tight, consider foregoing gift exchanges with extended family or giving simple handmade gifts, instead. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck thinking there is a “right” or “wrong” way to celebrate the holiday season. Instead, give yourself room to choose solutions that minimize stress.

  1. Avoid Dwelling on the Past

Making the decision to seek treatment for your substance misuse takes courage. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished, even if the holidays bring up memories of past mistakes. Remind yourself that, while you can’t go back and change what’s already happened, you are in control of what the future holds.

  1. Create Alcohol-Free Traditions

Since alcohol is often a part of many holiday celebrations, navigating a sober season may require creating new family rituals. You may wish to celebrate by decorating sugar cookies, caroling at nearby senior centers, building a snowman, purchasing gifts for a toy drive, or volunteering to serve a meal at a local homeless shelter. When it’s appropriate, incorporate family or friends in your decision and enjoy the new tradition as a group.

  1. Consider Severing Ties with Toxic Family Members

Breaking off contact with family members isn’t a decision that should be made lightly, but it may be in your best interest to distance yourself if certain relatives don’t support your sobriety or are actively using themselves. In this case, celebrating with the friends you’ve made in recovery may be the best way to enjoy a peaceful holiday season.

  1. Take Advantage of Aftercare Resources

Recovery is a journey best taken one step at a time. Making the transition from inpatient rehab to home is a big adjustment, but Immersion Recovery Center offers extensive aftercare resources to support your long-term recovery success. If you’re struggling with holiday stress, we’re here to help. Contact us online–or call 561.419.3349 for details.