Staying Sober Over the Holidays

Recovery is a constant learning process.

You learn a lot from the people you meet and listen to in meetings.

You learn a lot about yourself.

I’ve learned more about myself through the program at Emerald Isle Health and Recovery than I have at any other point in my life.

The power of reflection cannot be understated.

That goes for the power of listening as well. In hearing other people’s stories, I’ve learned about some of my own flaws and what makes me tick.

When we share our collective experience of addiction, we remind ourselves that this is just as much a group effort, as it is a solo effort, when it comes to addiction treatment options.

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I’ve found that recovery comes with a lot of firsts. There’s the first day. Then the first week, month, year, etc.

I went into recovery at Emerald Isle with a lot of anxiety about my firsts. What will it feel like when I’m sober for one week? Is it going to be different when I hit my first month? Will that feeling alone be enough to keep me straight? Will staying sober over the holidays be extra difficult?

I assumed I would be hitting these milestones completely on my own at first, but that is not the case in recovery. You can’t reach your milestones without a little bit of help. Some need more than others.

One of the things I continue to keep in mind is that help is there when I need it. I am not alone in this.

When I first entered Emerald Isle, I had a lot of lonely feelings that were quickly shot down by the people around me. Knowing there are people who will be there for me makes me want to be there for them as well. This is one of the things that has kept me going through this process of recovery.

If someone needs help, I will be there for them. If I’m the one who needs help, I can trust the people around me. Emerald Isle’s amazing treatment programs taught me that.

Staying Sober During the Holidays Emerald Isle Health and Recovery - A young woman is meeting with an addiction counselor to create an addiction aftercare plan for staying sober over the holidays.

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Celebrating sober anniversaries is a very personal thing for everybody in recovery. It’s up to you how you celebrate or don’t celebrate.

Although everyone’s anniversaries are unique, they are a light for others who are struggling. Whenever I met someone who had reached twenty or thirty years of sobriety, it mesmerized me. How can you make it that long without temptation? The truth is you probably don’t. It’s a matter of handling temptation and holding yourself accountable.

Either way, knowing there are people out there who have been clean for decades is extremely inspiring for me, especially when it comes to staying sober over the holidays.

There are people out there who can’t even remain sober for one day. These are the people that need to hear our stories. When I tell people, I’ve been clean for four years, I don’t do it to brag. I do it to try and plant that seed in others. I do it to try and make others realize that it’s possible.

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How do I celebrate my anniversaries? I try not to make a huge deal out of it, but at the same time, I do take the time to recognize that I’ve accomplished something very important. I try to go to multiple meetings around the time of my anniversaries. This helps me keep myself in check, while also trying to give others the advice that follows me — especially when staying sober over the holidays. I feel like it is my duty to share my experience with everyone I possibly can. Your story is not going to resonate with everybody, but if there’s one person that could be helped by it, I’ve done my job.

Staying Sober During the Holidays Emerald Isle Health and Recovery - A group of individuals in outpatient rehab is discussing healthy ways for staying sober over the holidays and maintaining their recovery.

Keep Your Sober Friends Close

When you reach any milestone through recovery, the people you surround yourself with can play a huge part. I always wondered if I would have to make all new friends when I got sober. That’s the scary part of getting clean. You leave one life behind in exchange for another one. There are people from my past that I still associate with, but I keep those people at a distance. I still have my old friends, but my new friends take up a good chunk of my social life.

Making new friends is difficult at any point in life. Luckily through Emerald Isle, I have met a lot of people with who I have resonated with that have helped me with staying sober over the holidays. When you go through a similar experience together, you have a much better understanding of where each other is coming from. If one of my sober friends is having a rough day, I get it. If they are feeling the urge, I get that too.

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You have to pick each other up.

If I’m having a good day, I should take it upon myself to try and give a hand to someone having a bad one.

When you are nearing one of your milestones, keep these people close.

If you are having a difficult time, these people can be your sanctuary.

Have a few different people that you can call.

If you don’t feel like doing it alone, have a get together with some of your most trusted peers.

Anytime I ever felt like I was going to slip up, especially staying sober over the holidays, it was because of these people that I didn’t.

Emerald Isle’s program gave me the resources to have support in my sober life.

Keep the people who support you close for your sake and theirs!