Holidays can be an extremely stressful time of year. A lot of the stress is a result of added expectations from family and friends and LGBT individuals finding themselves in uncomfortable family situations.
In order to maintain sobriety it is important to be prepared and proactive during this time of year. Below is a list of things to keep in mind to make sure you're taking the proper steps to take care of yourself.
As always, remember your relapse prevention plan. An important part of any relapse prevention plan is having a thorough and trusted list of people to call. It includes knowing what situations are going to more difficult for you. So, if being around a certain family member tends to be a trigger, have a plan for that instance.
Be realistic. Friends and family often put on a lot of pressure during the holiday season, but you might also put a lot of pressure on yourself. You expect that you are supposed to be a lot of things to a lot of people. It is important to realize that you can't possibly go to every holiday party or be able to get presents for everyone in your life. Set some boundaries for yourself and stick to them.
Give yourself a break. Family gatherings can be stressful, even in those families who are completely supportive of your sexual identity and sobriety. Keep in mind that it is ok to step outside for a break or go to another room for some alone time or to call a friend on your support list
Talk to your partner. If you are planning on bringing your partner to your family's get together for the first time, take the time to sit down and talk about each of your expectations, concerns, and general questions. It is likely that by having a conversation in advance of the event, a lot of your stress and anxiety can be alleviated.
Talk to your family. Similarly, if you are bringing your partner to your family's event for the first time, have a conversation with them -- or at least one of them, about how each of you is feeling. Allow them to voice anything they need to and allow yourself to do the same. Often having an open dialogue can save a lot of misunderstanding from ever occurring.
During this stressful time remember to take care of yourself. Maintaining your mental and chemical health is more important than getting to every holiday gathering you are invited to.
If you find yourself needing additional support or a recovery coach, call 800-547-7433!
Other resources below to help you through the holiday season ...
1) Holiday Season Survival Skills And Tips, from the Betty Ford Center
2) Holiday Tips -- Holidays Tips From People in Recovery
3) 25 Tips for Sober Living During the Holidays
4) Tips for preventing the holiday blues, staying sober from Hazelden
5) 5 tips for staying sober during the holiday season
If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism or drug addiction, and are looking for an LGBT dual diagnosis treatment facility, contact the Pride Institute at 1-800-547-7433
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