Many people wait all year for the holiday season to arrive and holiday music, cheerful decorations, and seasonal treats to be the norm. While this is, indeed, an exciting time of year for most, for those in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction, this isn’t always the case.
Between the stress and rush of holiday shopping to the worry they may feel heading to small, family gatherings, the holiday season offers plenty of moments of temptation to relapse. In order to keep yourself on the right path and avoid relapsing during the holiday season, here are a few tips to follow.
Tips for Avoiding Relapse During the Holidays
Be Honest and Aware of Your Recovery Journey
There is no one-size-fits-all timeline for addiction recovery — everyone makes strides at their own pace. As you head into the holiday season, take a few moments to reflect on your journey. Ask yourself:
How long have I been on my journey?
Do I have a good understanding of my triggers?
Am I able to successfully handle my triggers without being tempted to relapse?
By being honest about where you are on your journey, you can best make a plan that prioritizes your wellbeing and helps you remain at ease during the holiday season.
Take Care of Yourself
Recovery requires more of you than just staying away from drugs or alcohol. You need to take care of your body and mind to help them heal from the damage incurred from prolonged substance use.
Especially as you head into the hectic holiday season, make sure you’re eating right, exercising regularly, keeping up with therapies and meetings, and prioritizing your mental and physical well-being.
Since the holiday season can be a bit chaotic in terms of scheduling, plan ahead to ensure you’re still able to keep up with your recovery. Take note of when AA or NA meetings are scheduled and speak to your sponsor or therapist about changing availability.
By being prepared for any scheduling changes, you can make accommodations in the event that you feel tempted to relapse.
Prepare for Gatherings
Even though holiday gatherings look a bit different this year, you still may find yourself heading to a small dinner with family members. It’s best to prepare for these events by:
Have Answers to Questions
You are not obligated to tell people about your recovery until you are ready to do so. However, that doesn’t mean loved ones won’t have questions or bring it up on their own. Consider coming up with some answers to the common “Where have you been?” “Do you not drink at all now?” and other questions that may get thrown your way.
If you feel comfortable doing so, be honest about your recovery. If you aren’t ready yet, prepare alternative answers in the meantime.
Bring Your Own Drinks
From warm whiskey drinks to spiked eggnog, the holiday season is filled with alcoholic beverages. It can be wise to bring your own non-alcoholic beverage so you know you have your own drink to enjoy. You may also be more likely to avoid being offered another drink if you already have the one you brought.
Lean on Loved Ones for Support
Especially if there are certain family members who may share their opinions on your recovery, albeit unnecessarily, lean on other members of your family for support. Consider having them speak to the aforementioned family members in advance and ask them not to push you so you aren’t stressed out and tempted to relapse.
Consider Skipping Gatherings
If you think that being involved in family gatherings may prove to be too stressful, consider skipping them altogether until you feel like you can better handle triggers and stressors without being tempted to relapse.
However, even if you skip gatherings, don’t keep yourself isolated. Make time to see one or two loved ones from time to time so you still have social interaction and support.
Top Addiction Rehab Center in Georgia
If you or a loved one are seeking help with a substance abuse problem, the dedicated and compassionate team at Mount Sinai Wellness Center is here to help. We offer those seeking addiction treatment in a discrete, private setting, coupled with top medical care.
Contact us to start your climb today.