What are your favourite holiday traditions that have been carried through the years? Traditions are an important part of family culture and the holiday season. Some traditions bring back fond memories of loved ones or of getting new pyjamas on Christmas Eve, reading stories by the fire, or making mom’s famous fudge. These memories can be carried on for years to share through the generations.
In recovery, there are holiday traditions we need to let go of now that we are living a life of sobriety. There’s no room in our new lives for Christmas Eve eggnog, dinnertime toasts or Chanukah wine. But it’s not all sad! Instead of mourning these traditions, re-frame the holiday season as a great opportunity to build new traditions that help you maintain a healthy, happy life.
Recovery is Focused on the Change of Habits and Traditions
As you’ve worked your way through a recovery program, you had the chance to see that this lifestyle change is centred on changing habits that feed your addictive behaviour. Letting go of traditions is no different. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but letting go can be an important step in creating the new life that you desire.
Now that you are sober and feeling great, it is important that you identify the traditions that might be holding back your progress in sobriety. The recovery program helped you let go of old habits that are no longer serving you. Now, the holiday season is no exception: it’s time to create traditions to maintain holiday cheer without alcohol or other vices that contribute to your addiction.
Avoiding the Old By Creating the New
As you identify old traditions that need to be eliminated from your life, it is important that you identify new traditions to use as replacements. Eliminating old habits and traditions can create a gap that might cause you to slip back into addictive patterns again. Instead of leaving the gap, find new traditions to replace the old habits.
For example, skip the rowdy Christmas Eve party and host a sober gathering at home. Start the tradition of serving gourmet hot chocolate with a variety of delicious toppings and mix-ins: whipped cream, cinnamon, vanilla or almond syrup, crushed candy canes, and more.
Transforming Old Traditions to Support Your Lifestyle
Just because you are sober doesn’t mean that you need to eliminate all of your traditions. You might find options to adjust your favourite traditions to support your new lifestyle. For example, find a recipe for delicious alcohol-free eggnog that you can enjoy on Christmas Eve. Or, plan an evening to make holiday crafts instead of spending a holiday party at a bar with friends.
If you enjoyed sharing a glass of New Year’s champagne at midnight, learn about festive mocktails that can be enjoyed at the stroke of midnight instead. You can have your mocktail order ready for the waiter. Or, practice at home and host a sober party where you can share these delicious drinks with sober friends.