1. Go to MyMentalHealth.org and download the FREE app and use it every day. It provides 24/7 support whenever and wherever it is needed. It contains hundreds of searchable videos on practically every recovery topic, as well as inspirational suggestions, sober contacts, meeting finders and much more. Your My Mental Health app has everything you need to interrupt a negative thinking pattern and avoid relapse.
2. Speak to someone in recovery every day. Don’t isolate. It’s important to be aware of how we are communicating with ourselves. We speak to ourselves all day long and our conversations either promote joy, happiness and recovery or fear, negativity, and relapse. Talking with another recovering person will help both you and the other person stay positive, sober and in a festive holiday mood.
3. You deserve to be happy. Addiction is a disease that systematically removes all joy from life. Friends, family, social activities, and events become less important as we sink deeper into substance abuse. Your sober, don’t sit home get back into life! Now is the time to surround yourself with sober friends and start celebrating. Many 12 Step groups have special events during the holidays including dances, meetings, and parties to name a few. Most meetings and websites can supply you with a list of activities.
4. Take a breath. Then do it again before reacting to stressful situations. Anger and resentment are powerful relapse triggers and should be avoided. Ask yourself better questions such as; How important is it? Or Do I want to be right or do I want to be happy before responding to challenging people or situations. Choose to be happy.
5. Do one good deed for someone else every day and expect nothing in return. This is a great suggestion for building self-esteem and getting into the spirit of the season. You don’t want to miss experiencing the joy of giving. Help someone else less fortunate. Remember Your sober, don’t sit home get back into life! Remember that My Mental Health we believe Mental Health is a right not a privilege. We never charge for any of our services and count on your help. All donations to My Mental Health are tax deductible.
6. Attend a 12-step, Smart Recovery, or support group meeting daily. Make sure if you are struggling to let someone know. Attending a group meeting allows you to interact with people that already know how to accomplish what you are trying to accomplish, which is stay sober and enjoy the holiday. Ask them for suggestions on how to avoid relapse. Keep the season enjoyable. Meeting makers make it.
7. Read inspirational literature. Success in recovery and life can be taught, learned, and duplicated. Pump up the positivity. Discover how others have thrived in recovery. Success leaves clues. (AA Big Book, and Full Recovery, the recovering persons guide to unleashing your inner power, are two suggestions)
8. Take care of yourself. Proper diet, exercise, sleep and mental stimulation do wonders to relieve anxiety and stress.
9. Enlarge your spiritual life. There is no substitute for daily prayer and meditation. I like to start getting centered early in the morning, so I can set the tone for the day. Prayer is speaking or sending intention to the creator, God or your Higher Power and meditation is quieting our mind so we can hear the answer.
10. Have fun. Laughter is balm for a weary soul. Laughter releases dopamine. You know dopamine the feel-good chemical in the brain you were artificially trying to produce by the use of drugs and alcohol. Laughter releases dopamine at no cost with only positive side effects
11. Don’t take the bait. Relatives and social events can be a challenge especially in early recovery. People like to keep us in a role they are comfortable with even when we are no longer getting high. Avoid troublemakers. If I don’t like the movie I get up and leave. Skip any events you’re not comfortable with. If there’s one you can’t skip, take an AA, NA, or sober friend. Keep candy or some other sweets handy. Candy can help alleviate cravings. Go late and leave early
12. Start a new tradition. Be host to AA, NA, or sober friends, especially newcomers. If you don’t have a place where you can throw a formal party, take a person to a dinner or spring for the coffee.
Keep the My Mental Health app with you all the time. Download it for FREE at mymentalhealth.org. Numerous studies have shown that if you can interrupt a negative thought pattern for as little as 2 minutes, you can avoid relapse. Your app contains hundreds of ways to interrupt a negative thinking pattern. If an urge to use or panic comes—postpone everything else until you’ve called a sober contact. Pray.