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Maintaining recovery during a COVID-impacted holiday season

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

by Krupa Patel, CCPRD Project Associate

The winter holiday season has arrived! We know members of our community observe many different traditions, including Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Día de Los Reyes Magos, Las Posadas, Winter Solstice, Yule, Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe, as well as secular observances of the winter season. For many, this month represents connecting with loved ones including chosen family, work-family, and even classmates.

But conditions related to COVID-19 and a struggling economy will make this a challenging and vulnerable time for many in our communities. In particular, for people in recovery from substance use disorder and other addictive behaviors, these additional strains might make keeping with sobriety or harm reduction measures difficult. The great news is that having tools that help when coping with urges can go a long way to make this winter holiday season safer.

To generate some ideas on what these tools can look like, we spoke to six staff in our division who have been impacted by addictive behaviors about what they’ll be doing this holiday season to maintain their recovery. Lots of their responses involve managing and expressing their emotions as well as connecting with others. Let’s take a look!

“I will keep reminding myself that I can have fun not having a drink. Also, knowing my triggers and when to step away from a situation that might bring those triggers to the forefront.” - Demetrius

“I’ll be sure to use any therapy or support group to connect with others experiencing similar struggles. There are a lot of options available for the community like SMART Recovery offered at Kenneth Young Center, White Bison at Trickster Art Gallery, Refuge Recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous, and much more. Support groups are continuing to meet online, and best of all, they are cost-free and welcome donations.” - Krupa

“I enjoy working on a creative project. I’m a musician, and since we’re gonna be spending more time inside, I’m gonna pick up my instrument and start playing harder things. Who knows? Maybe I will pick up another instrument. Something to occupy my time, to keep me busy. Doing something with my hands.” - Francis

“I might pick up a paintbrush or an instrument and just play around until I feel happy with the outcome. No endgame in mind, just experimenting, maybe playing a song I have stuck in my head or drawing something I've been thinking about. Just decompressing.” - Grey

“For me, it’s important to identify people in my life who can be a part of my support system. These people can be family, friends, or other peers in recovery. Do something nice for them like reach out and extend wishes of a happy holiday season and a prosperous New Year. I’m a firm believer that one reaps what they sow, so spread some holiday cheer and it will come back to you. :)” - Marissa

“I’ll be organizing/creating creative sex-positive projects with my QTPOC community with covid precautions in place. Advocating for accountability and community care throughout all the communities I’m tethered to. Creating art, gift-giving hand-made gifts or love letters, listening to audiobooks by Audre Lorde and Adrienne Mariee Brown. Doing all things with love and care and grace - recognizing that processing trauma and engaging in recovery is not linear. And that showing softness, grace, and care for myself and my queer community is a radical act of love.” - Domingo

Looking for recovery resources? Visit the CPYD Recovery Resource Guide to get connected with a therapist, Naloxone, peer groups, and other tools to support recovery.

Don’t miss our Recovery Art Festival on Saturday, December 5th! Register today.

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