Few people in addiction and co-occurring disorder recovery will find the results of a 2014 survey by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) surprising. The data indicates that 64 percent of people with mental illness find the holidays make their conditions worse.
“For many people the holiday season is not always the most wonderful time of the year” said NAMI medical director Ken Duckworth. “What the survey shows is a tremendous need for people to reach out and watch out for each other in keeping with the spirit of the season.”
With one more major holiday in front of us, it is critical to prioritize self-care to avoid any complication is one’s recovery. Christmas is now behind us, but that does not mean that the stress of the holidays is gone. New Year’s Eve is a day when relapse rates are exceptionally high, anything you can do to strengthen your program and ward off the risk of relapse is a must.
There are several tools and behaviors one can employ to help manage uncomfortable situations and the feelings that can arise. In our most previous post, we discussed things to keep in mind as you trudge the road of recovery through the holidays. If you didn’t read the article, we invite you to do so, but the gist of it dealt with understanding one’s limitations. Biting off more than one can chew, can be a recipe for relapse in recovery. With NYE less than a week away, it is vital for all people living with mental illness to continue reading the pulse of their recovery.
Expectations in Recovery
New Year’s Eve is a day for partying from one coast to the other; and, an overwhelming amount of alcohol is imbibed as Americans hail in the New Year. People in early recovery are often invited to such gatherings, and it should go without saying that accepting such invitations must be done cautiously.
Making it through New Year’s Eve means managing your expectations, of yourself and others. If old friends and family are pressuring you to attend an event that is unlikely to be conducive to recovery, then pull back. Your continued progress must come before all else; why jeopardize all your hard work just to make other people happy? If an environment is probably going to be unsafe or might generate feelings that can cause you to slip, it is best to decline NYE invitations.
The good news is that people in recovery are not sticks in the mud. Each year, at this time, people working a program come together to bring in the New Year with a smile on their face. Aside from meetings being held around the clock, some members of the recovery community organize dances or dinner parties. Together, those attending can have fun and honor their commitments by putting their physical and spiritual well-being, first.
At the next meeting, you visit, ask your peers about any sobriety-centered holiday events happening next week. Attending will provide an opportunity to strengthen your program all while having a good time.
A New Year in Addiction Recovery
At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we would like to wish everyone a safe and sober New Year’s Eve and a new year defined by continued progress. If you are currently in the grips of active addiction or suffering from a co-occurring mental illness, please contact HVRC to take the first step toward healing and lasting recovery.