The holidays can be a challenging time for many women, particularly those in recovery from addiction and co-occurring disorders. Roseann Rook, CADC, clinical addictions specialist at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, the nation’s leading residential treatment center for women and girls struggling with eating disorders, addiction, trauma and mood disorders, offers tips on surviving the holidays.
“One of the most proactive and recovery-focused things a woman can do to keep her sobriety during the holidays is to increase her 12-step meetings,” said Rook. “Even if you are feeling in good spirits, you must stay committed to meetings and calling your sponsor.”
Another important tip is to “slow down” and check in with yourself throughout the day – what frame of mind are you in, what is your stress level? It’s important to make holiday plans that don’t focus on alcohol – making new memories with friends in a sober environment.
Even if there’s problems with family members and dynamics, it’s important to remember that one’s sobriety is the priority. Rook suggests that if there’s a family event where the entire family drinks and you feel you will be triggered, you can leave early and go to a meeting after the event. You can also bring a sober friend along.
When it comes to moms in recovery, many women want to be “supermoms” and forget they are indeed human, often taking on too much. This can intensify around the holidays. Moms do the majority of holiday planning, buying and wrapping gifts, baking and/or attending school parties and entertaining. It’s important to set boundaries and be able to say no. Don’t compare yourself; ask for help and be humble. Being overwhelmed is the number one reason women relapse; feelings of guilt and shame over past holidays can be a huge trigger for moms as well.
Holiday Depression Help
Depression can also increase during the holidays. The added stress of expectations and commitments during the holidays adds to these feelings. Women struggle with the need to look good more often due to the increase in the number of events and being surrounded by people you don’t usually see.
“The holidays don’t have to be about big parties and alcohol,” adds Rook. “In recovery, it’s a time to make meaningful memories with the people you love. It’s a time to focus on what you do have and be grateful you have another day sober. The most important advice is ‘be smart, not strong.’ You don’t have anything to prove and everything to lose by putting yourself in any situation that can take your sobriety away.”
About Timberline Knolls:
Timberline Knolls is a leading private residential treatment center for women and adolescent girls (ages 12 – 65+) with eating disorders, addiction, trauma, mood and co-occurring disorders. Located in suburban Chicago, residents receive excellent clinical care from a highly trained professional staff on a picturesque 43-acre wooded campus. For more information on Timberline Knolls, call 877.257.9611. We are also on Facebook – Timberline Knolls, LinkedIn – Timberline Knolls and Twitter – @TimberlineToday.