Your 2020 Holiday Survival Guide

Wherever you are in your recovery journey, the holidays can be a tough, triggering time, and this year it’s even more complicated by COVID-19. Some of us will be spending the holidays alone, others might be feeling pressured into attending family gatherings. This 2020 Holiday Survival Guide is here to remind you that millions of people in the program have successfully survived many holiday seasons. Here’s some collected wisdom to help you protect your recovery in the coming weeks:

  • Don’t start worrying about all the possible upcoming holiday temptations. Remember: “one day at a time,”
  • Speak to at least one other person in recovery every day.
  • Many 12-step groups have seasonal candlelight or gratitude meetings, which can be incredibly supportive, and these are continuing to happen this year, just online. Others are hosting special meetings to replace the usual in-person gatherings. For example, there will be 24 meetings happening in the 24 hours between noon on December 24th and noon on December 25th; join in on Zoom anytime, ID 70-723-576, Password 244027
  • If you’re planning on travelling, make sure you’ll have access to wifi wherever you’re going, and have a plan for continuing your routine of attending regular Zoom meetings while you’re away.
  • Line up extra sober activities for the holiday season, like seeing friends in recovery for a walk, some skating or skiing, or some Hot Not Toddies around a bonfire.
  • Keep a list of support phone numbers with you at all times. If the urge to drink or use hits, don’t do anything until AFTER you’ve spoken to someone else in recovery.
  • Stay spiritually fit. Make extra time for prayer and meditation and any practices that help you connect with your Higher Power.
  • Stay clear of HALT (don’t get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired). More than ever, this is the time to get enough sleep, eat well, log in to meetings, and share what you’re feeling.
  • Adjust your expectations. It’s said that expectations are resentments in the making. Remember that you have no control over what others do or say, but you do have control over your reactions.
  • Practice gratitude. Write a gratitude list every morning. You’ll be less likely to pick up a drink or drug if you’re feeling truly grateful for your recovery and your chance for a new life.
  • Skip any drinking occasion you are nervous about. No gathering is worth losing your sobriety. “Sorry, I won’t be able to make it” is all you have to say.
  • Keep busy. There are still many safe ways to volunteer in your community; check out Volunteer Toronto to find a service opportunity near you. Book time for self-care activities like exercise, cooking nutritious meals, catching up with friends and family, and maintaining a healthy, consistent sleep schedule.

You’ve got this! Share your own tips in the comments below.

About the Authors

Renascent Staff
The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.