When the holidays are over and the rush of the chaos stops, our adrenaline can drop, causing us to feel low, sad or depressed, even if nothing significantly negative happened. This is a fragile time for those of us struggling with addiction. In fact, December is known for having one of the highest rates of drug overdose deaths each year. To make things worse, it seems like every year after Christmas we just jump right into setting goals for the next year. These new year’s resolutions can be exciting, but how long do we usually stick to them? A few months, a few weeks, a few days? Sometimes these goals can feel like they are rules(more pressure) and we quickly lose our motivation, forget why they were important in the first place, and feel bad for not sticking them out. A lot of time these goals are motivated by what we feel like we failed to do this year. What if we took a moment to pause after Christmas, and think about what it is we did accomplish? What if we intentionally didn’t set goals until the 1st, and spent the seven days between Christmas and New Year’s acknowledging our achievements. Doing this could end the year with a heart full of gratitude and possibly make our resolutions completely different than they would have been otherwise. Try writing this list of achievements or things you are grateful for each morning until January 1st, and you might just keep it up all year long.
In our addiction we lost our ability, if we ever had it, to stick to a healthy routine, maintain our self-care, think positively or reach out for help; so this added holiday stress can trigger cravings or a desire to isolate. A wonderful thing about our sober living homes is that you are surrounded by community. A community dedicated to prioritizing and maintaining healthy routines, self-care and communication. This kind of support and accountability during this time of year can be a life saving environment, so lean into your community, share your feelings and celebrate your achievements this year together. Let’s wrap up 2018 with compassion for what has happened and joy for what’s to come.