Tag Archives: sobriety during the holidays

Vacation Hacks for Staying Sober

Vacation is a great way to get away from the stresses of life, spend time with people you care about, and have fun. But if you’re in recovery, vacation isn’t as simple as getting away for a while. Everything you do need to help support your sobriety, including vacation. Just because you’re in recovery doesn’t mean you can’t go on vacation. But if you’re thinking about taking some time away, it’s important to stay sober the whole time. Understanding why you should stay sober for life, including on vacation, and using some tips to help support your sobriety can make the difference between a great vacation and a relapse.

The importance of sobriety on vacation

When you’re in recovery, establishing routines in your daily life can make it easier to maintain your sobriety. You know what to expect each day, and your habits throughout the day help promote your sobriety. But when you go on vacation, your routines are disrupted. That can make it harder to resist temptations, especially if you’re in an environment where your will power is being challenged. But it’s just as important to stay sober on vacation as it is in your regular daily life. If you slip up, you run the risk of turning back to the life you had before and undoing all the work you did to get sober.

How to stay sober on vacation

Vacation should be a part of normal life. But when you’re working to stay sober, vacation can be a trigger for falling back into past behaviors. Here are some things you can do to help yourself stay sober when you’re on vacation.

Make sure you can handle the vacation

The timing of your vacation is a big consideration. Recovery is a process. The longer you’re sober, the easier it may be to go on vacation and use your willpower to avoid temptation. If you’re still early in your recovery, going on vacation may not be a good idea. Instead, it would be better to stick with your normal daily routine so you can reduce the risk of relapsing.

Communicate with your travel buddies

It’s also important to have open communication with the people you’ll be traveling with. They should know that you’re working on staying sober for life, and that a relapse could cause major problems in your life and recovery. Being open and honest with your travel buddies can help make sure that the vacation will be enjoyable for everyone and you’ll have the support you need to stay sober while you’re away from home. If your travel buddies can’t support your sobriety on vacation, it might not be the best idea to go.

Plan your itinerary around your needs

Staying sober means that you make decisions for your life based on your sobriety needs. The lifestyle you develop in recovery can be maintained while you’re on vacation. But that means that the itinerary for your vacation needs to be built around your needs for sobriety. If you need down time every day, make sure you get it. If you need time to exercise or have diet restrictions, make sure that your vacation can accommodate those needs. You want to have fun while you’re on vacation, but you still have basic needs that have to be met. If your vacation can’t meet your basic sobriety needs, it’s not a vacation for you.

Suggest activities that work for you

When you and your travel buddies are planning activities for the vacation, be sure to suggest activities that work for you. The people you’re traveling with may want to be supportive, but they may not know what that looks like on vacation. By suggesting activities you can do, it’s more likely that your vacation itinerary will be fun for you as well as for the people you’re traveling with. This is especially important if you’ve developed new interests and hobbies since getting sober. If your travel buddies are set on certain activities and those activities don’t support your sobriety, that may mean that you should reconsider going on vacation with those people.

Research destinations carefully

Some vacation destinations are better than others. Some vacation locations are built around drinking, for example. So if you’re working on sobriety, that wouldn’t be a good place for you to visit. As you’re planning your vacation, be sure to do research into what’s available in the area, what the big attractions are, and what you want to do while you’re away from home. For example, you might want to look for a destination that’s more “family-friendly.” Those locations tend to have activities that are good for people of all ages, which means there would be things to do that don’t involve substances or activities that might be triggering for you.

Don’t be afraid to use your ‘no’ muscle

Ultimately, whether or not you can and should go on vacation is up to you. If there are any red flags about the trip, or you think it’s too soon for you to disrupt your regular daily routines, don’t be afraid to use your ‘no’ muscle and say no to the vacation. Your travel buddies may be disappointed, but they want you to be healthy, happy, and sober. They’ll understand if it’s just not a good idea for you to go on vacation with them at that time. Your sobriety is the most important thing, so every decision you make should be for that goal.

Your sobriety is important. That doesn’t mean you can’t go on vacation with people, but if you’re going to, then you have to make sure that your vacation is going to support your sobriety. From communication to planning to being willing to say no, your vacation can be a way to get away from the stresses of life without relapsing. Use these tips as you prepare for your vacation, and then you can be sure that you’ll come home with great memories and that you’ll still be sober for life!

Navigating Safely into the New Year while in Recovery

While recovering from any addiction, it’s important to avoid anything that can trigger a relapse. This is especially difficult during the winter holiday season because it tends to be longer than the others. Also, there are more celebrations, family and friends reunions scheduled for this time of the year than at any other time of the year.

 

To stay sober, you should start your transition on to the New Year with a resolve to stay sober. As hard as it might be, especially for a person who has just gone through intensive treatment for an addiction, it is crucial that you discipline yourself and be aware of negative habits that might crop up as you try to avoid the primary addiction. Here are strategies for staying sober during the holiday season.

 

Have a Plan

 

It’s the festive season and just because you are in recovery does not mean that you cannot have some fun as most of the world is. The only important thing is to have a plan. Only attend important meetups or celebrations and have with you someone close to watch and offer the support system you need. Some alcohol addiction patients may get an urge or temptation to taste alcohol just by seeing or smelling it at the party. If you think you can have these tendencies avoid such parties. Most family gatherings are relaxed and have less alcohol served. These can be ideal for a start. However, when going to such parties, prepare your mind for any eventuality. You might come face to face with alcohol, smell it and even watch people as they enjoy the drink. You can carry with you an alcohol-free drink that soothes you and helps keep your mind off alcohol.

 

Reduce Stress

 

Stress can trigger a relapse. Some situations are unavoidable but being prepared can make a lot of difference. Apart from the celebrations, sibling rivalry, fights with friends and other misunderstandings are a normal part of the festive season. You cannot avoid people because this can lead to other problems like screen addiction or tech addiction as happens to people who stay indoors for too long. To avoid stress, always be in the company of people who understand, support and are ready to help you through the setbacks. If you reach out to stress-relieving pills every time you experience anxiety or stress, you are at  risk of dependency or drug addiction.

 

Avoid Old Friends

 

As much as you can, avoid friends you used to party with or who drink or abuse drugs. The more you associate yourself with them, the easier it will be for you to slip back to your old ways. Sober living requires you to drop as many of your old friends as possible and get new ones, probably those who are walking your journey. When you have like-minded people, the journey becomes easier, and there are fewer temptations along the way. If you can’t avoid drinking friends, let them know of your intentions to stay sober, the effort you have been putting to fight alcohol addiction and ask for their help. Most probably they already know you were drinking way too much or were battling other addictions such as tech addiction or screen addiction. Ask them to avoid bringing alcohol along when they visit you.

 

Eat

Hunger is one of the triggers for most addictions including alcohol,video gaming addiction, and drug addiction. Having a meal or snack every three hours ensures that your blood sugar levels are optimal, your thinking is not affected and you have the energy to make the right decisions. Before joining a party, make sure you have eaten well, you can even carry a snack along. Other triggers include anger, loneliness, and fatigue. If you find yourself idle, your mind can go back to the things it was accustomed to.

 

To avoid tech or video gaming addiction, keep yourself busy with meaningful things. Being in control of your mental and physical health is important for your wellbeing. When you overwork, your energy levels go down which can trigger a relapse. Holiday festivals demand that you sleep late, party a lot and work hard to entertain guests. Having a plan ensures you get enough sleep and take breaks to avoid burning out.

 

Learn How to Say No

 

Most often, recovering patients shy away from telling their extended families or friends about their healing process. This puts them into awkward situations in parties or family gatherings where alcohol is being served. A well-meaning aunt or friend can hand you a glass or a whole bottle of wine, how do you politely say no? You need to have rehearsed this before. This gives you the preparedness to say no and settle for it. You don’t have to say no to the offer outrightly but can use a clever way to get out of the situation. Not involving everyone in this journey can be an advantage because you don’t have to endure the judgment that comes with such a revelation but you need to have a plan that gets you out of any tricky situation. To be on the safe side, always have an accountability partner every time you attend parties.

 

Evaluate Your Progress

It’s not an easy journey. Sometimes you will fall, other times you will have relapses, and in some instances, you will feel desperate and ready to give up. The urge to drink at times will be so strong that sober living will seem like an impossibility. Do not be too hard on yourself. If you slip once or twice, dust yourself and keep pushing forward. With time, things will get better. To be on the safe side, book yourself into more stay sober treats and make sure you attend all your therapy and counseling sessions. If possible, stick close to the support groups, make friends within the circle and find entertaining but safe ways to spend the holidays within the circle. This is especially important if you have just come out of an intensive treatment plan.

 

What you should always remember during the New Year season is that there are busy and not too busy triggers. Busy triggers include friends and family parties and old friends visiting you. Not busy triggers include loneliness, shame, guilt, and loss.

 

Conclusion

 

It’s essential to identify each emotion and take the necessary steps to deal with it. One of the things you may experience when around the extended family is low self-esteem. Addiction comes with a loss of earnings, poor health, marital and family problems that cannot be hidden. People may judge you, others may not be willing to forgive or accept you back or even help you on the journey to recovery, but you need to be strong and always stay close to positive people who embrace and love you just the way you are. If all fails, opt for sober living houses. This will significantly help you transition into the new year sober and focused on your long-term goal of kicking out the addiction.

Dogs Help with Recovery

Recovery from drug or alcohol addiction is a big step towards reclaiming your life. However, given that addiction is a highly individualized disease, treatment may take several forms depending on your case. During the recovery process, support systems are vital in helping the addict not to relapse into the addiction. One of the popular support approaches is dog-assisted therapy. This therapy involves giving those healing from addiction a dog to aid them during the recovery process. The dog offers the patients a connection to another living being. This is something that most patients lack. For these reasons, Omega Recovery is dog friendly. Just down the street from Omega is a great place to find a new best friend, Austin Pets Alive. Austin is leading the way as a no kill city for over 8 years.

Dogs are compassionate and they love you

Dogs are very good at showing compassion to their owners especially when the owners are low in spirits. A recovering addict will have their moments of low spirits and may lack someone that can give you that touch of assurance. A pet can play this role perfectly. It can curl, perch on your shoulder or lie beside you. It reassures you that everything is okay and will be fine. Dogs are great partners who never get bored with you and can be with you wherever you go or are doing. Given that you may regularly suffer from these moments of loneliness especially if you lack family support, getting a pet to be on your side is a noble idea.

Helps return your mind to the normal routine

Drug addiction alters your normal habits and makes you forget your responsibility. A significant step towards recovery is getting back to your normal routine. For you to form new habits, you need responsibilities that need to be fulfilled on a daily basis.

One of these activities is to take care of a dog. If you have a dog that needs to be fed, a dog that needs to be walked and you are most likely going to push yourself to wake up and get going. This daily commitment eventually turns into a routine. With the basic routine in place, you can add in other routines such as cooking, bathing and so forth. With time, you are able to get your normal life back.

Unlike other activities that you may postpone, a task around a pet cannot be postponed. When struggling to complete the task, you will end up completing other tasks in the process.

Gives you a sense of purpose

Most people are engulfed into a sense of hopelessness when they cannot control their drug or alcohol habit. Over time the hopelessness leads to frustration and more drug use. Unfortunately, you may feel the same when trying to get out of addiction. You may be struggling so much to keep within the recovery boundaries especially if are on extended care at home or rehab center.

Pets can give you a sense of hope, self-worth, and direction. You may be having a hard time getting on with the family members or connecting with friends who may affect your social life as you feel unwanted. However, your pet depends on you for grooming, food, and shelter. It gives you a reason to wake up each morning and do something for it. This reason is what helps you to rebuild your self-worth and a sense of purpose. In the long run, it enables you to regain the confidence of the people around you that you can take care of more than just yourself.

Helps the Whole Family Recover

Dogs help families take time out for play, it’s fun to chase your dog around the yard, go for walks, play fetch, learn new tricks, etc. Dogs provide loyalty, companionship and love. Studies show that owning a dog reduce stress and lowers cholesterol, and can add years to your life. See this article at WebMD for a list of benefits. Dogs greatly enrich the lives and help with recovery for both individuals and families.

Helps in socialization

One of the things that drug abuse kills off is the connection between you and the people around you. Drugs may have ruined relationships through withdrawal, risky behavior or unpredictable temperament. It is always a tough task to learn to socialize again when you get sober again. In fact, one of the aftercare objectives is to get you to become integrated into society and enable you to create friendships with people around you.

Dogs can act as middle persons in your journey to socializing again. You can walk the dog to a pet park and engage in some talk with other dog owners. Friendship with other pets helps you to regain the ability to trust others and learn new ways to handle relationships.

Pets are also known to ease social pressures that your friends and companions feel when they visit you. Friends may not have a lot to share. However, on meeting a pet at home he or she can start a small chat around the dog. Soon, the ice is broken, and other topics come into the foreground.

Keeps you active

As you recover, you need to keep your energy levels up by keeping yourself busy. Unfortunately, you are likely to end up feeling worn-out. A dog can come in to keep you motivated. Animals are exercise ready and awesome exercise companions. You may put off your next activity if you feel like not doing it. However, you cannot keep postponing your dog care activities such a dog walking, playing with the pet, and grooming. You will be forced to compose yourself and do what you are required to do. This motivation slowly turns seemingly tough or boring activities into routine activities. In addition, remaining active improves the rate of recovery and lowers the risk of relapse.

Conclusion

If you are in Austin, sober living is possible. Adopt a dog at Austin Pets Alive within walking distance from Omega Recovery Center in downtown south Austin. Having a pet near you is one of the most effective ways of speeding up recovery. Visit the pets center today and let your new friend walk with you to a drug-free life.

Sober Living During the Holidays

For all the reasons that the holidays are great – family, friends, food, and general good cheer in most cases – they can prove to be particularly trying times for someone who is struggling with addiction recovery. The nature of holiday festivities can create huge challenges for those struggling with eating disorders, alcohol addiction, and drug addiction.

Luckily, there are countless ways to make the holidays a little bit easier. As told in a press release by PRNewswire.com, one organization in particular is offering a quick tip sheet for those struggling with various addictions during the holiday season. We thought this would be a good time to share such beneficial advice.

Below are the tips to avoiding relapse during the holidays, as suggested by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.

Weigh your options. You don’t have to attend every social gathering of the season. If the event is something that you aren’t required to attend, and you don’t feel strong enough to manage it, it might be best to decline. Sticking to stress-free events this holiday season is the best way to avoid relapse.

Plan ahead. Before you go to an event, think about the situations you might face. How will you respond when offered a drink or dessert? Prepare yourself with a few responses to help you kindly refuse the tempting offer.

Engage your support system. Bring a friend or your sponsor along who can help you stay on track. If you can’t bring a friend, reach out to your sponsor and think about attending a support group meeting before and after the event.

Take a break. The Holidays are stressful and good stress management is essential for avoiding relapse. Fighting off the temptations of the holiday season can be exhausting. There are many things you can do to help clear your mind, such as deep breathing, taking a walk and getting plenty of rest.

Remember that you have a disease called addiction. It can be easy to tell yourself “it’s just one drink” if you are not prepared to say “no.” Remember: just one bite, drink or hit can lead to severe relapse. Once you take the first drink, that drink is in control–not you. Remember the saying “one is too many and 1,000 is never enough.”

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, ya’ll!