This Marti Gras, Celebrate Sobriety!
According to the National Institute for Health, relapse is most prevalent in December and February, with the mix of social activities and colder weather affecting people in challenging ways. This month poses a particular challenge because of Marti Gras, the religious inspired holiday known for its emphasis on overindulgence. We also call it Fat Tuesday for the food, parades, beads, festivals, family, and of course, alcohol and drugs. Understanding that the festival season is definitely a test on sobriety – whether early on or after years of a sober lifestyle – we’ve come up with tips for staying sober during Mardi Gras and to help you take on cravings:
- Find those people who support you in your recovery. Put yourself in a situation that will not set you up for failure. Surround yourself with those who have supported you during your treatment and now on the road to your recovery. Friends, family, and sponsors are all people who know what you’ve gone through and want to see you succeed.
- Attend a “Family Friendly Mardi Gras Event.” Some cities have specific areas along the parade route where families can gather and enjoy the Mardi Gras festivities in a safe environment. Connect with us at BBC or another local substance dependency support organization to find out what events are family friendly.
- Have a backup plan. Even if you are surrounded by your core support group, sometimes the unexpected can happen and triggers can pop up. Similar to a natural disaster plan know how you’re going to remove yourself from the situation before it’s too late. Prepare whomever you are with that removing yourself from a potentially harmful event in your recovery is a possibility. They may be on board to help get you out and leave or it will allow you to create your own way of escaping. This way everyone is on the same page and there will be less of a chance you getting stuck with your sobriety in jeopardy.
- Avoid it all together. If you feel like you would not be able to handle the temptation it may be a good idea to just avoid Mardi Gras all together.
Howard Wetsman, MD, who has a lifetime experience as a Chief Medical Officer for different addiction centers finds that admissions to treatment go down between Christmas and Mardi Gras, and people leaving recovery and going back to active using goes up. It becomes just a little bit harder to talk to someone about not picking up when they see their social contacts picking up “with impunity.” So what’s an addiction treater to do? It helps to go back to what Mardi Gras really is, not the excuse for a party, but the spiritual holiday season. There are a lot of traditions of Mardi Gras that can actually be used to strengthen recovery rather than risk active addiction.
Our counselors understand the frustrations and challenges that happen this time of year, connect with us to create a plan of action of how to avoid relapse, how to remain strong and to remain engaged with others to ensure sobriety success. Visit our website, call us, or text us today and get the support you need to be strong on your journey to recovery.