Voices of Recovery recently had a chance to sit down with 449 Founder and recovery expert Rodney Robinson to discuss the difficulties those in recovery may face for the upcoming New Years Eve holiday. Voices of Recovery hopes that Rodney’s advice and wisdom may serve as a valuable tool for those fighting the battle of drug and alcohol addiction and some valuable New Years Eve Tips for Recovery.
Voices of Recovery- While you have many years of recovery and sobriety under your belt and have helped countless others with their personal struggle, Do you remember your first new years eve that you spent without drugs and alcohol and what that experience was like?
Rodney Robinson- I do, as a matter of fact I think about it almost every year around this time. My first sober New Years Eve I attended a sober dance. And I will never forget it because I think it was the first time I had ever attended a dance when I was sober, and one of things I remember most about it was how afraid I was to ask a girl to dance because it was the first time I had ever done it sober and without using alcohol as a crutch to boost my courage. It was a completely new experience for me but proved so beneficial because I had supportive people who were there to help me enjoy and embrace the experience. It made a big difference and I think for most people new to recovery it’s a great experience, because getting acclimated again with social events can be a great stepping stone.
Voices of Recovery-Do you know of any current sober dances being held in the area?
Rodney Robinson- The youth group for most sober events are done with alcoholics anonymous and a group here in Orange County called AOCYPAA that routinely hold those types of events*. There is also what we call “marathon meetings,” and those are meetings held during the holidays were people can help find a meeting and even just hang out and have something to do and take part in. Its important because many who are new to recovery can have difficulty with making the change from using drugs and alcohol to not using drugs and alcohol. So these types of meeting and experiences are crucial to a strong foundation of recovery.
* Information for this years AOCYPAA New Years Extravaganza can be found here.
Voices of Recovery- For those who began their recovery in the year’s earlier months, is New Year Eve typically the hardest holiday to maintain sobriety and can it typically be counted on as the major pivotal holiday and challenge for those trying to stay sober?
Rodney Robinson- Absolutely, its really the toughest time for those new to sobriety and recovery because there are so many triggers. This is the time of the year where there are the biggest parties going on and traditionally when most drug and alcohol addicts will use the excuse and take it to the next level in terms of their use. There are also a lot of family issues and other dynamics that makes it incredibly challenging and can act as a curve ball. Some addicts may already have family issues already or some sense of guilt that their drug or alcohol addiction has let their family down, the realty is typically the exact far different.
Voices of Recovery- For those who have been in recovery for a prolonged period of time and have been clean and sober for a number of years, does the challenge of maintaining a drug and alcohol recovery program during the holidays and New Years Eve ever diminish or is it always a challenge?
Rodney Robinson- I think its always a challenge. One of the things I experienced after maybe 15 years or so in recovery was that I would experience what I would I guess could be called a post-Christmas let down. You would go out shopping and getting gifts and getting the things you wanted, but then it was over. Dealing with the day to day things is hard enough, but you add in the other elevated emotions that comes with Christmas and the New Year that it can get really tough. And some people may be dealing with depression, or using alcohol to treat their depression, so knowing how to substitute those behaviors in a positive manner and recognizing those triggers are important, but they are also very difficult. It is really the Catch22 a lot of those in drug and alcohol recovery experience this time of year. Going to friends houses where others may be drinking and you are by yourself, there tends to be a sadness that comes over the addict that they couldn’t or can’t do what others can do. And then that can play a role with someone’s self esteem and almost spiral from there. So without question, there are and there will be triggers and for some, it never gets easier.
Part 2 of our conversation with Rodney will be posted soon.