Managing co-occurring disorders is hard enough without having to deal with all that holiday temptation, those winter blues, and family triggers. It’s like an adult obstacle course where you don’t have a helmet. Well fear not! You can stay sober over the holidays with a few friendly reminders and a couple of coping mechanisms from experts at the local dual diagnosis treatment center.

1 – Go to All Your Meetings:

Why on earth would you go about your struggle managing co-occurring disorders alone? Make sure you go to all your recovery meetings. Don’t skip a single one if you can help it. Set boundaries and tell people when you need to leave to get to a meeting. It’s easy to get caught up in all the holiday cheer and that’s the problem. There are so many opportunities for relapse.

2 – Exercise Regularly

There are just so many benefits to consistent exercise that will really help you stay sober of the holidays while managing co-occurring disorders, especially aerobic exercise. A 2010 study suggests that recovering addicts who regularly perform aerobic exercise are less likely to relapse1.

First, exercise is a routine which means you will have to be disciplined to maintain your schedule. You will have to plan around your exercise routine and that kind of focus is a good exercise for you mind.

Second, exercise releases endorphins which can instantly boost mood. The link between exercise and mood is so strong that the effects of a heightened mood can come on as fast as five minutes after exercising2.

3 – Make Your Bed

So, what does making your bed have to do with managing co-occurring disorders or staying sober over the holidays? There have been multiple studies that suggest making your bed is one of the easiest ways to improve your mental health3.

Here are some of the most obvious reasons to make your bed everyday this holiday season:

  • It means to accomplish something right away. That mindset sticks with you for the rest of the day.
  • It gives you a sense of discipline first thing in the morning and that structure is a great way to cope with mental health issues.
  • It takes only a few minutes.
  • Bed making is a gateway to other feel-good habits.

It’s a no brainer, so give is a try for the next month!

4 – Remember to H.A.L.T.

The most effective way to stay sober over the holidays is to understand your own body’s signs and signals. When you are overwhelmed, frustrated, triggered or worse, remember H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired). Most of the time, you are in the throws of one of these emotions and you might not be able to see that.

Try eating something (avoid sugar) or take a nap. Do whatever you can to manage your mood.

5 – Manage Your Emotions

Which leads us to the final piece of advice that everyone who is managing co-occurring disorders can relate to: mange your emotions. The best way to get your emotions under control is to mediate and journal. Both of these coping mechanisms are preventative, allowing you to learn from past mistakes while calming yourself when you run into future outburst.

If you are struggling or you find that you need to get treatment for co-occurring disorders, please feel free to call us: 1-877-977-4866


[1]: Science Direct – A pilot study of aerobic exercise as an adjunctive treatment for drug dependence

[2]: American Psychology Association – The exercise effect

[3]: Helpful Habitat – The Benefits of Making Your Bed Every Day

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