For some people, winter can be a hard time in recovery. Besides the holidays—which can be stressful—the days getting shorter and darker can be hard. Everything about winter feels slower, so finding motivation to make changes can be a challenge. However, there are a lot of benefits to getting—or just being—sober in the winter. While events happen beyond the holidays, there tends to be less going on as in other seasons. This can mean not as many chances to be around people who are drinking or using. You can choose more intimate social activities, like inviting some friends over to drink tea or eat a meal. The chance to cozy up inside can be useful for reflection, meditation, and learning what you need. This time is useful at all points of recovery. When you’re newly sober, it can take time to build self-awareness, understand your boundaries, figure out coping skills that work for you, and learn who you are without substances. These are things that can’t happen when you’re chronically intoxicated. The chance for quiet contemplation can allow these processes to happen naturally. If you’re in longer term recovery too, you know that what you want and need for your sobriety is always changing. Recovery means continual growth and healing. Having some time to reflect can help you figure out where you are and what you need at this time in your life. That said, you can balance out quiet time with meaningful activities; while there isn’t always as much going on in the winter, there are ways to keep yourself busy. I’ve always found learning a new skill helpful and engaging. You might try learning to speak a new language or play a new instrument. You might take an online class. Something like crocheting is a great winter hobby because you can do it inside, it’s meditative—and at the end, you can have something to keep you warm throughout the winter! You can also be of service without leaving your house. We’ve listed ways to be of service from afar here, which is useful both when winter messes with your motivation to leave the house and if you’re being careful due to COVD-19. Winter can be tough, especially for people who have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). We’ve shared some tips for coping with SAD here. It’s tempting to want to go back to drinking or using drugs when those are the coping mechanisms you know for dealing with difficult things. However, that will only make things worse; recovery allows an opportunity to be intentional about how you take care of yourself, and it will make for a much better winter. If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. Amatus Recovery Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. Our staff—many of whom are in recovery themselves—will help you find peace in recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.