A Happy and Sober Holiday Season 2020 Version

a gratitude word scramble to reinforce the idea of gratitude as a recovery skill in substance abuse recovery

A Happy and Sober Holiday Season 2020 Version

Last year I wrote a series of posts that I called “Your Definitive Guide to a Happy Sober Holiday Season.” It accurately described many of the challenges persons in recovery can face during the holiday season.

Click here for the blog post on an accurate assessment of recovery status.

Click here for a guide to a sober holiday – people, places and traditions.

Click here for  tools and tips to a happy sober holiday season.


2020 Holiday Season and Its Unique Stress

Of course, I was completely unaware with the rest of the world of the onslaught of challenges, changes, and stress that would grip us in the coming months. Many our holiday celebrations will look different this year. They may be smaller. They may not be smaller, but they may include more heated discussions about politics, social justice, and the pandemic. You may have had experience with someone in your circle who was severely impacted by COVID in a variety of ways: death, illness, job loss, business loss or closing, eviction, or the loss of health insurance.

an emergency room sign for covid to show the additional strain of the holiday season in 2020

Many of us are approaching this holiday season with depleted resources of all kinds: financial, emotional, and health. We are faced with a unique stressor; COVID fatigue at a time when the COVID numbers are worse than during the original spike. I talked about the The New Normal and Being Tired in this blog post. In a nutshell, more is expected of us at a time when we have the least to give.

Some of my readers know I am in a doctorate program. I am currently working on my doctorate project (a curriculum for private practice clinicians to use with clients working through substance abuse issues.) It has “break out” modules for the clinician and client. One of those modules is the Stress Module. Stress is a known correlated factor in the progression of or relapse to a substance abuse problem. One would guess that “coping skills” are the natural solution to responding to stress. However, research reveals that social connectedness (people) are correlated with best outcomes. In the 2020 Holiday Season, this is problematic because our social connections have been challenged and stressed by the pandemic, politics, health, and access since March of 2020.

I want to encourage all my readers, whether they personally struggle with substance abuse or not, to prioritize connection with others this holiday season. In whatever health-responsible ways you can, connect with others. Zoom, text, interact positively on social media, call, meet outside for a cup of coffee. Be mindful that this year has been a collective and individual stressor, and with limited access to the activities and habits that help mitigate stress, we need to maximize the most powerful stress tools we have: people.

a sign board with world vs corona and #wewillwin to encourage readers to be hopeful and intentional about their sober holiday planning


Gratitude is Science

I also want to remind you that gratitude is evidence based; it’s science. It doesn’t have to be November to start an intentional gratitude practice.

an image of a journal that says today I am grateful to remind readers to appreciate what they can and to practice the recovery skill of gratitude when they can

Here is a blog post on 7 Reasons You Should Start a Gratitude Practice Today.

Here is a blog from my Science of Woo Series: Gratitude.

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