Holiday Relapse Prevention Tips That Work
The holidays can be a difficult time for many people. Loss of a loved one, poor finances, or illness are some circumstances that can make holidays hard, and people in recovery face the additional challenge of dealing with the many triggers that accompany holidays. For people recovering from substance abuse, mentally preparing for holiday relapse prevention is critical to remaining sober.
6 Holiday Relapse Prevention Techniques
The best way to implement holiday relapse prevention techniques is to understand the triggers associated with Christmas, New Year’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and any other holiday where stress can play a part in sobriety. Some of the triggers that affect holidays include the following:
- Money – Many holidays involve gift-giving or taking people out for dinner. Not having the money believed to be necessary to celebrate the holidays properly is a trigger.
- Purchasing Gifts – It’s actually very stressful to deal with crowded stores, shop sales, find a convenient parking place, and know the right gift to buy. Any of these stresses can be a trigger.
- Holiday Parties – Being around other people who are drinking at family functions, work parties, or a holiday get-together with friends. At some parties, alcohol, pot, and drugs may all be present and serious triggers.
Using the following strategies will be helpful when a person in recovery is confronted with a trigger.
- Know what your triggers are and make a list of ways you can avoid them during the holidays.
- Have a backup plan that comfortably allows you to excuse yourself from attending parties where triggers’ will be present. Have a list of excuses ready to turn down a drink or a joint, as well as a reason to leave any party.
- If you are asked why you are not drinking or smoking, or using any drugs, be prepared to either change the subject if you don’t feel comfortable enough to discuss it, or explain why certain activities are no longer part of your life.
- If you start feeling tempted, leave and call your sponsor.
- Holidays come and go. In a few days they are gone for another year. Some will be good, and some will be stressful.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle over the holidays. Don’t stay up all night, eat healthy food, and get regular exercise.
These holiday relapse prevention techniques can help you keep from relapsing over the holidays. If you feel stressed or uncomfortable at any time, call your sponsor (if you are attending a public group therapy program) or any member of your personal support group of family and friends.
Addiction During The Holidays
Holiday gatherings and parties open the door to many temptations. Don’t accept invites to parties being held by old friends who haven’t yet straightened out their lives. Enjoy family functions, holiday programs at schools, churches, and concert halls. Addiction during the holidays doesn’t have to result in relapse. Make a list of fun things going on in your city, which might include sleigh rides, tree-lighting, caroling, city-sponsored programs, and similar events. Craft fairs, art shows, and church-rummage sales are going on in many areas.
Coping With The Holidays In Recovery
Keeping busy with activities is one way of coping with the holidays in recovery. Doing volunteer work, such as delivering toys and meals to low-income families, serving holidays meals for a charity or church, and helping with winter clothing collection for children will give you great emotional rewards. You can also volunteer at animal shelters that get very busy during the holidays as people choose pets to gift their children.
It’s certainly possible to relapse during the holidays, and if that should happen don’t despair. Contact Better Addiction Care or your local sponsor. If you don’t attend a local support group, Better Addiction Care can connect you with groups in your area. Call us at 1-800-429-7690 to find help for you or your loved one.