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How to Resist Temptation to Drink During the Holidays

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Holiday RelapseThe holidays can be exciting, fun-filled times for most people but for others it brings a risk for holiday relapse.  We look forward to gathering with friends and family to celebrate, open gifts, and eat awesome food.  Once the stress of shopping is over, we can relax and enjoy parties and time with family members.  

But, can someone who is in recovery from alcohol addiction enjoy the festivities without relapsing?  These individuals may be struggling with added stress during the holidays for several reasons.  Stress can be the trigger that causes a relapse.  If a person who is in recovery doesn’t have a strong support system of loving family members or friends, loneliness may also be a trigger for holiday relapse.  

Tips for Avoiding Holiday Relapse

Avoiding holiday relapse won’t be easy, but if you plan ahead, you will be prepared to sidestep any triggers that come your way.  Here are a few tips to help you succeed.

Begin Each Day With a Plan for Avoiding Relapse

Recovering from alcohol addiction is a process that involves determination and courage.  Each new day may bring unexpected triggers, so the individual must be prepared. Experts in the field of psychiatry recommend starting each day thinking about how to stay sober for the day.  The key is to stay focused on your sobriety goals.

Evaluate Situations in Terms of Risk

Someone who is in recovery should rank scenarios according to the level of risk for triggers.  In early recovery, you should spend more time in low-risk situations.  As you progress in recovery, you are more aware of how you respond to temptation.  At this point, you can engage in a medium or high-risk scenario.  But, it’s a good idea to have a plan for leaving early, just in case.

Avoid Holiday Relapse by Bringing Your Own Beverage

Many holiday gatherings or events are accompanied by a variety of alcoholic beverages.  And, someone is always eager to offer everyone a drink.  If you’re in recovery, you can resist the temptation by bringing non-alcoholic beverages you enjoy.  If you have a drink in your hand, it’s unlikely someone will offer another one.

It’s also a good idea to have a discreet strategy for saying no if someone offers you a drink.  Practice different responses so you’ll be comfortable using them if the opportunity arises.

Bring a Sober Friend 

It’s not easy being the only sober person in the crowd.  This situation can be a relapse trigger if you’re not careful.  To avoid feeling like an outcast at the gathering, bring a sober friend with you.  You won’t feel alone and can have fun hanging out with your sober friend.

Take Care of Yourself

During the holidays, it’s important for recovering individuals to take care of themselves.  If you become bored, depressed, or lonely, relapse may be around the corner.  Staying active and finding new ways to have fun without alcohol are vital for relapse prevention.  

A person in recovery should try to learn new skills such as playing a musical instrument or playing sports.  Also, eating healthy meals and getting plenty of exercise helps boost self-esteem and can go a long way in preventing relapse.

Find Ways to Resist Cravings

Did you know cravings only last about 20 minutes?  If you can find ways to distract yourself instead of giving in to the craving, it will pass.  Try to remember how much is at risk if you take that first drink.  A holiday relapse can be the beginning of a downward spiral.

Prevent Holiday Relapse by Reaching Out for Support

Everyone in recovery has good days and bad days.  But, one bad day can leave some individuals feeling overwhelmed.  When you feel insecure about your ability to maintain sobriety, contact someone you trust.  If you don’t have someone close to talk to, reach out to a self-help group or online counseling or support group.  You don’t have to struggle alone.  

Make New, Sober Traditions

If you’re concerned about attending holiday events that promote alcohol, don’t go.  Instead, start your own tradition.  Invite sober friends and have your own holiday celebration.  It’s important to know you’re capable of socializing without alcohol.  You’ll not only be helping yourself, but your sober friends will appreciate having a place to celebrate the holidays without facing temptation.

Happy Sober Holidays from Design for Change Recovery

Happy Holidays from everyone here at Design for Change Recovery.  You’ve worked hard to overcome an alcohol addiction, and we hope you enjoy every minute of your sober holidays.  

For anyone who is struggling with alcohol use, we invite you to contact our Lancaster, CA facility today.  One of our knowledgeable and compassionate representatives will be available to assist you in any way.  We will help you choose a treatment approach that is right for your needs.  With our comprehensive, individualized approach to treatment, you will beat alcohol addiction and find new ways to enjoy your holidays and your future.  

Source: – How to Stay Sober: 13 Tips for Your Recovery

Substance Use Disorders