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A Sober New Year’s: How To Maintain Sobriety, Prevent Relapse, And Have Fun

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS

March 25, 2019

For a person newly struggling in recovery, the holidays can present a new set of obstacles to overcome. Whether it is the stress of staying sober during a time of high energy and fluctuating stress levels or attending events held in substance-laden environments, staying the path of recovery over the holidays may be difficult. Finding a way to enjoy this time through all of these troubles may seem like an impossible feat, but there are steps you can take to dedicate yourself fully to your recovery while still enjoying this time of year.

Ways To Dedicate Yourself To Recovery

Establish A Group Of Supporters

This idea extends beyond joining a support group (which is also helpful) to finding that group of people you know support you in your efforts. These should be people you can call on if you need to talk, discuss your feelings, need reminding of your progress or goals, or who can present a welcome distraction from the trials of treatment. Friends, family, or friends at work may all be good candidates. Form a list of your recovery supporters, and make sure you have contact information for each. Another great idea may be to begin an email chain, or text messaging group. Knowing you have a full group of people who are on board with your commitment to sobriety may be a powerful force in keeping you dedicated.

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Stay Committed To Your Treatment Program

This may seem like an obvious method, but it is very important. Whether you are part of a 12-step program, or engaging in behavioral therapy, try beginning each day asking yourself what you can do to work toward your program goals. If it helps, write down your goals. This may help to ensure you complete these goals, and lets you visualize your progress.

Keep A Log Of Gratitude

Speaking of visualizing, making a daily log or journal entry in which you note the things for which you are grateful may help you to see the positive things that result from sobriety. If you find it difficult to start, just focus on writing down three things each day.

Give Back Or Volunteer

Building a substance-free lifestyle usually means engaging in all new activities, especially ones that let you try something new while keeping you active. Some ideas could be cleaning out some things from your closet to donate, or volunteering your service time at a local food bank. In addition to keeping you active and trying something new, these activities allow you to help others as well.

Fill Your Calendar

It is no coincidence that many things that help a person to recover involve keeping busy. That is because a large part of the struggle is filling your time with things to do which are far from the influence of substance abuse. This is a great time to spend time with family and friends, or if that will become too much, try new activities by yourself or with one or two people. Take a class and learn something new. Look for activities which get you moving and keep you in positive situations.

Remember Your Health

It is not uncommon for anyone to forget about taking care of health during the holidays, but people in recovery need to keep their overall health in mind. The holiday season can be tiring, so try to make sure you get enough rest (especially while keeping up with your busy schedule). Maintain a healthy diet, and get in some exercise. Even if you do indulge in some holiday treats, or skip a day or two in your exercise routine, try to focus on your body’s health as much as your psychological health.

Avoid Events Or Places That Trigger Substance Abuse

For many, the first place or situation where they abused substances becomes a long-term trigger. Also, hanging out with people who are still abusing substances or who introduced you to substances could cause you to relapse. Steer clear of these places as much as possible, or if you can’t avoid them, have a plan for staying sober.

Enjoy The Benefits Of Your Sobriety

This may seem hard to do at first, when you are training yourself to not think about substances every day. However, being in recovery affords you the unique opportunity to see the world from the perspective of someone who has bested their addiction. Before long, you may find you reap the benefits of approaching life substance-free.

Keeping The Commitment: Get The Treatment You Need Today

Dedicating yourself to the harsh days of early recovery is not easy, and the bustling holiday season can make it even more difficult. If you are struggling and want to get a head start on recovery, there is no time like the present. Contact us today at, and let us help you take the first steps.

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