9 Tips for Enjoying the Holidays While Maintaining Recovery

by Holly Jespersen December 06, 2019
This is my eighth holiday season in recovery. At this point in my sobriety, I am very comfortable with my new life. I have learned to live without substances, and have a life that is full of loving, supportive relationships.

In the beginning, I had assumed that recovery would be boring. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My life these days includes a job that I love and a very packed social calendar full of fun things with people who bring joy to my soul.

But it’s not always easy. The holiday season, especially, can be a stressful time for people in recovery like me. Luckily, there are ways to get through it. Here are a few of my top tips for enjoying the holiday season without jeopardizing your health.

Manage your expectations (of yourself and others). They say expectations are resentments in the making, and I believe that to be true. We cannot control others; we are only responsible for ourselves. Try not to set huge expectations or anticipate outcomes this season. It takes practice, but it will make life during the holidays (and for that matter any day of the year) a lot smoother and more satisfying. Also manage your expectations of the holiday season in general—it’s a fun and festive time, but the holidays do not make you feel feelings less, or make your family miraculously get along like the Brady Bunch. Give yourself a reality check. (I find that logging off of social media is very helpful for this, too.)

Do not overcommit. I used to be the queen of overcommitting, running from one event to the next, which made it hard to be present in the moment, and made people feel like I always had a better offer. Today, I try to focus. I prefer a less frenetic existence, and like to enjoy my time with my friends without having to run to my next engagement. It is no longer fun for me to move at that pace. In sobriety I have clung to peace, quiet and serenity and away from chaos, drama and craziness. “If you’re too busy, you’re too busy.” Sometimes it’s just that simple.

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