Celebrations—whether a friend’s birthday party, a holiday event, or an anniversary dinner—can be enjoyable experiences filled with thankfulness and gratitude. But they can just as easily feel awkward and uncomfortable and be riddled with stress-triggers. Crowded rooms, loud or annoying people, and lots of drinking—little landmines like these are potential triggers for stress, and collectively they can push us over the boiling point. And for those of us in recovery, being pushed past the boiling point is the last place we want to be.

Thankfully, there are ways to handle such stress and keep oneself out of an emotional danger zone. Here are some tips that you can stuff in your back pocket before heading off to a celebration event.


  • Give yourself permission to leave before you head off


If you begin feeling overstressed at the event, it is very important to give yourself permission to get away from whatever or whomever is fueling your stress. By giving yourself permission to leave the event before arriving at it, you’ll be more likely to depart before you become overwhelmed.


  • If leaving isn’t possible, take little breaks away the source of the stress


Of course, it is not always possible to simply get up and leave a stressful celebratory event. If you can’t leave, it is very important to take a little break and emotionally regroup. Simply excusing yourself to someplace more private and taking a few deep breaths can do wonders for lowering your stress level.


  • Do something positive for someone other than yourself


One of the best ways to relieve stress is to do something positive for someone else. Complement someone at the event, offer to help clean up afterward, or give an intoxicated friend a safe ride home. Any act of kindness toward another person will make you feel better about yourself and will help lower your stress level.


  • Reach out if you get overwhelmed


If your stress level hits a boiling point, be sure to reach out for help. Calling someone and sharing what you are going through with that person can diffuse a level of stress that has become too intense. Don’t hesitate to call your sponsor or a recovery buddy. That person can almost certainly relate to your stressful situation and lend you the emotional support you require.

Reviewing these suggestions before heading off to a celebration event will help you get through it with less stress and protect your recovery in the process. While evading every stress-inducing situation may be impossible, it can be minimized to a less threatening and harmful level.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please call Alta Loma Recovery at 866-457-3843 today. A clean and sober life is possible for everyone and Alta Loma Recovery can help.

“I think a spiritual journey is not so much a journey of discovery. It’s a journey of recovery. It’s a journey of uncovering your own inner nature. It’s already there.” 

–Billy Corgan