Everyone knows that breakups don’t always happen at the most opportune times. Ending a relationship can occur during a busy time of year or even around your birthday or the holidays. Going through a Christmas breakup can feel incredibly emotional and intimidating. You may wonder how you’ll ever be able to get in the Christmas spirit after everything that has happened. Experiencing this stress while you’re in recovery for a drug or alcohol disorder can be especially difficult. With these circumstances, a person may feel tempted to turn back to substance misuse to cope with their pain.
However, the good news is that you can get through the holiday season sober, even if you’ve recently experienced a breakup. The key is to be patient with yourself, give yourself grace, surround yourself with supportive people, and try to be as flexible as possible.
The difficulty of going through a Christmas breakup can depend on a wide variety of factors. Examples include the length of time that you and your partner were together, whether the breakup was expected, and whether or not you are used to spending the holidays with that partner. Many people also become attached to their romantic partner’s friends and family, and breaking up requires also not being with these individuals. The thought of spending your holidays in a different setting or with different people can be upsetting and may cause someone to pine over Christmases in the past instead of trying to make the most of this season.
Most people who are going through a breakup aren’t in the best headspace. They’re experiencing raw emotions and still trying to process that their relationship has ended. While going through this difficulty, they may feel pressured to appear happy and cheerful for the sake of those around them. The person may fear that if they appear mopey or downbeat, then they will bring down the excitement that everyone else is experiencing. Trying to fake a happy face becomes exhausting and can end up making you feel even worse.
Instead of trying to force yourself into a happy or cheerful mood, it is better to have patience with yourself and honor how you’re feeling. This doesn’t make you selfish or weak. You just experienced a life-changing event, and it’s okay to feel sad. Take some time to be by yourself and process your feelings. Journaling may help you sort through your emotions and release all the different thoughts that are going on inside of your head. Practicing meditation can also help you to re-center and feel more in tune with yourself.
However you may be feeling, remember that these feelings are valid. You don’t have to try to make yourself feel any differently. Just remember that these feelings will pass, and you will overcome this sadness.
Some of your family or friends may notice that you don’t seem to be your cheery self during holiday gatherings this year. It can help to just be honest about the fact that you’re going through a breakup. You can politely tell them that you don’t want to talk about it if that’s how you feel. However, talking about what you’re going through with a close friend or family member that you trust can also be really beneficial if you feel the timing is right. Talking with others can not only help you process how you’re feeling, but it can also help remind you that you’re not the first person to go through this. Others have experienced this and healed from it, and you can too.
Remember to surround yourself only with people who support you and your recovery journey. Avoid anyone who you think may trigger you or pressure you in any way.
This holiday season may be different than the ones that you’ve experienced in the past, and that’s okay. Try to be flexible and embrace new plans. This could be the year that you start a new holiday tradition with friends or family members. Consider hosting your own holiday party or gift exchange. Perhaps, this year you want to consider taking a trip out of town with friends or family. Alternatively, maybe you prefer to go on a solo trip to have time for self-care, mindfulness, and processing.
No matter what you plan to do, remember to practice self-care. This involves doing anything necessary to take care of your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. Make sure that you also stay on top of your treatment plan by keeping up with your support group meetings, therapy sessions, and other means of protecting your sobriety.
Breakups often happen at the worst times, sometimes even right before the holiday season. A Christmas breakup can be incredibly emotional and difficult. It may even trigger some to turn to substance use. Getting through a Christmas breakup while maintaining your recovery is possible. Just remember to be patient with yourself, honor your feelings, surround yourself with supportive people, and try to be flexible. Take some time to yourself to process how you’re feeling and consider doing some journaling. This year, Christmas may look different than those in the past. Try to be open and embrace other activities. If you’re struggling with substance use disorder, our team at The Kimberly Center can help. Call (855) 452-3683 today.