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With the holiday season upon us, you might find yourself feeling stressed or down. You are certainly not alone. According to one study, 88 percent of Americans feel that the holiday season is the most stressful time of year. A season that’s meant for peace and joy may be anything but.

There are a number of reasons why the holidays are challenging for people in recovery. Between social obligations, costly gift giving and complicated family relationships, it’s easy to feel overburdened and stressed. Not to mention, the routine that you’ve clung closely to is now disrupted.

If you find yourself feeling depressed over the holiday season, take some time to think about how far you’ve come since alcohol rehab in Arizona. Even though you may have to cut out certain parties, friends and traditions, there are new ways you can celebrate.

Here are seven ways your life is better when you’re sober – even during the holidays.

1. Healthier Appearance

Regular drinking takes a toll on your physical health. These changes are gradual, so you may not have noticed them like your extended family did. But now that you’re sober, you look healthier, which will also boost your self-esteem around family and friends.

2. More Free Time

Most people wish they had more time in their day, but you actually do! Now that you’re not spending your free time drinking and nursing hangovers, you’ll have more time to decorate, shop, wrap presents and so on. This means you can enjoy the holiday season more.

3. More Money

Another thing you’ll have more of this holiday season is money. Alcohol is expensive. When you were drinking, you were probably spending money most days of the week. Now that you’re not supporting this habit, you can put money into the holiday season.

4. Greater Self-Awareness

Did your family used to complain that you were selfish and negligent? While it can be hard to face your realities, it also makes you more self-aware. And this will help you become more aware of your surroundings and how your actions affect others.

5. Increased Fun

You might think that the holidays will be less fun now that you’re not drinking, but it’s actually the opposite! Being sober means you get to remember everything, be fully present in the moment and not suffer through hangovers. Check out some ideas for celebrating the holidays sober.

6. Healthy Boundaries

Perhaps you used to overextend yourself during the holidays, causing you to feel burnt out. But this doesn’t have to be the case anymore. Remember to set healthy boundaries this season as you choose who and what you want to put your time into.

7. Better Relationships

Hopefully, most of your relationships have improved since alcohol rehab in AZ. Having healthy relationships will make the holidays more comfortable. And if you’re still repairing relationships, remember to give your family grace and look for the good in everyone.

Life isn’t just good when you’re sober – it’s better! The holidays may be stressful but stay positive. You have a lot to celebrate this year, and it will only be a matter of time before you have new traditions to enjoy.