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Tips From a Therapist on How to Stay Safe in Early Recovery Over the Holidays

Many blogs have been written about what not to do over the holidays, or how difficult the season can be for someone in recovery. If you have just started down your path to recovery, you might be wondering if you will ever be able enjoy a party or family gathering again without taking a drink or using a drug.

Approach this holiday season with a positive attitude!  See it as an exciting opportunity to celebrate and enjoy your new life in recovery.

We spoke to Stephanie Banfield, a therapist at Bellwood Health Services, who gave some valuable tips for safely navigating and enjoying the holiday season while in early recovery.

Enjoying the holidays is a personal choice. Always ensure you put recovery first.  The holidays can still be a great time to connect with family and friends you haven’t seen for awhile.

Some things you can do if you are in early recovery and plan on attending a party during the holidays include:

  1. Arrive early. This will allow you to spend time with the host before things get too busy and hectic.
  2. Set a schedule so you know what time you plan on arriving and leaving.
  3. Bring a sober friend. You can keep each other on track and support one another if needed.
  4. Arrange a phone call with your sponsor or another person in long term recovery at some point during the event.
  5. Provide your own transportation so you can have more control over what time you want to attend and leave an event.

The most important things you can do in early recovery are be honest with yourself and your loved ones, increase the number of meetings you attend, and be sure to you actively participate in your aftercare program.

If you are feeling triggered at an event, here are some tips that can help:

  1. Take a walk and get some fresh air. This can always help clear your mind.
  2. Call your sponsor or someone from your support network.
  3. If you are still struggling, then it’s time to leave.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel Edgewood Health Network and Follow us on Twitter for more tips and stories about recovery.