The Memorial Day holiday weekend is emblematic of the beginning of Summer, despite it being a about honoring those who died in active military service. When you’re an addict or alcoholic, however, most holidays take on one meaning, and one meaning only: a means to getting high. But when you come into recovery, the meanings of holidays need to change. They need to evolve into opportunities for making healthier choices, sober fun, and creating positive memories.
In the newness of recovery, however, a holiday weekend can seem overwhelming, perhaps daunting. The thought of suddenly having to shift perspectives, change social circles, and ultimately change how we show up on our lives is tough. I challenge you to shift your perspective and begin to look at holidays as an opportunity for self-care.
Here are some helpful tips to help you stay on track on any holiday weekend and also take care of yourself in the process:
- Go outside! Take a walk with a friend or go on a hike;
- Go to extra meetings;
- Call your sponsor;
- Be of service some examples of being of service are:
- Buy a coffee for the person behind you at Starbucks.
- Give a homeless person a meal.
- Volunteer at an animal shelter.
- Offer to help an elderly neighbor with their groceries.
- Take a commitment at a meeting
- Host or attend a sober event. For example, have a BBQ at a park – do silly activities like 3-legged races, water balloon fights, or tug of war.
- Practice meditation or yoga – both are a great means of self-care and they do wonders to regulate your nervous system;
- Don’t be afraid to say “no.” If something doesn’t feel right to you, “no” is a perfectly acceptable answer. It’s a boundary and good practice in recovery.
- Ask for help: One of the hardest lessons to learn when we get sober is that we cannot do this alone. Asking for help is a learned skill for a lot of us. If you are lonely, or overwhelmed, or emotionally triggered, reach out to someone.
And last but not least, Don’t forget to have fun. Find the joy in the little things: the light on a flower, the smell of the ocean, the sand between your toes, your friend’s laugh, a great cup of coffee, a beautiful sunset, or a great movie (or one so bad that it’s good!). Have a safe and sober weekend!