Labor Day, like other holidays, can be challenging for people in recovery (and especially early recovery). You may feel like everybody else is drinking and partying, while you are missing out. But in reality, there are lots of ways to celebrate holidays while still staying on track with your goals. Here are some tips for ways to enjoy the holiday, without compromising your recovery:
1. Make plans with supportive/sober friends
You may want to avoid gatherings and events where people are likely to be drinking heavily, but that doesn’t mean that you have to sit home alone! Reach out to friends who are also in recovery, or friends who are supportive of yours. Let them know that you don’t want to put yourself in a risky situation, but that you’d still like to celebrate the holiday. There are lots of fun things that you can plan to do that don’t need to involve drugs or alcohol… like a beach day, a hike, or a kayaking adventure.
2. Research sober events in your area
A quick Google search can net many different holiday events going on in your area, some of which are more family-oriented and less likely to be triggering. Meetup.com also has a list of groups and activities for sober people in various cities, not just for holidays but year-round.
3. Keep things in perspective
Feeling like you are missing out on something that you used to enjoy can certainly lead to disappointment and sadness. But it’s helpful to keep a healthy perspective. Remember why your recovery is important to you in the first place. Whatever you are missing out on in the moment may seem small in comparison to the long-term goals that you are working toward. Try to imagine how much better you’ll feel at this time next year if you are able to stay on track.
And remember, it’s always good to plan ahead. Anticipate what may be challenging for you and come up with a plan for how to deal with it. For example, if being alone on a holiday will be stressful, find a meeting in your area to attend or make sure to schedule plans with a friend in advance. If you know that you will be attending an event that could be triggering, have an exit plan in place so that you can escape if you need to.