In Recovery?  Here Are Some Ways to Avoid Holiday Relapse and Still Enjoy the Festivities

In Recovery?  Here Are Some Ways to Avoid Holiday Relapse and Still Enjoy the Festivities

If you are in recovery from substance use, the holidays will be challenging in many ways.  With Christmas is only a few days away, and New Year’s Eve is right around the corner, planning ahead is the key to avoiding holiday relapse, experts agree.  

The three most common triggers during the holidays are non-sober environments, unrealistic expectations, and high-stress levels.  But, you can manage the triggers and avoid relapse with some simple strategies.  

If you are in the early stages of recovery, you have a better chance of preventing relapse if you employ some methods that have been proven to work.  Let’s explore some of the ways you can enjoy the holiday festivities without relapsing.

How to Avoid Holiday Relapse and Still Have Fun

During the holidays, you are likely to find yourself surrounded by family and friends who want you to attend parties or other celebrations.  Of course, alcohol is almost always available at these types of events.  So, how do you stay sober without feeling left out?  Here are a few suggestions on how to avoid holiday relapse and still enjoy yourself:

Have a Plan

Before you decide to attend a holiday event, think about what you will do if things go wrong.  Begin by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do I really need or want to go?
  • Am I ready to handle this type of function?
  • How can I avoid possible triggers?
  • Can I leave if I feel a craving coming on?
  • Will someone be there to help me?
  • What is my escape plan?

Asking these questions beforehand will help you prepare and avoid relapse during the holidays.  Plan to take your own car so you can leave if necessary.  Or, take a sober friend with you so you won’t feel isolated.  Of course, you have the option of declining the invitation.  Protecting your sobriety is the most important thing for you to focus on now.  

Be Prepared to Say “No”

Keep in mind that you are responsible for your sobriety.  So, it may be necessary to decline a friend’s or family member’s invitation if the situation doesn’t seem right.  These are some polite ways to say no:

  • I appreciate your invitation, but…
  • Thank you, but I have too much going on right now.
  • I’m sorry, I won’t be able to make it.
  • It’s not a good idea for me at this time.

You’ve worked hard to get to this stage in recovery.  Don’t let someone pressure you into a situation that could put you at risk of a relapse.  

Reach Out to Your Support System 

Holidays will be difficult if you don’t reach out for support when you feel overwhelmed or anxious.  Sometimes, your counselors or sponsors understand your feelings better than friends or family can. They are trained to provide the guidance and encouragement you need to maintain sobriety.  Here are a few suggestions for getting the support you need:

  • Go to extra meetings during the holidays.
  • Help loved ones understand the importance of meetings.
  • Call your sponsor or counselor as often as you need to.
  • Try not to skip meetings during the holidays.
  • Don’t rely solely on friends or family for support.

Try to focus on the real purpose of the holidays beyond the traditions of the season.  Find ways to share love, give thanks, and celebrate your new beginning.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday or a normal day, each day of sobriety is a reason to celebrate.

What to Do If You Slip During the Holidays

The difference between a “slip” and a relapse is difficult to recognize.  A slip doesn’t erase all your hard work toward recovery if you don’t let it turn into an ongoing relapse.  Relapse means you know the consequences, but choose to return to your drinking behavior regardless.  The relapse continues without action on your part to reverse it.

Relapse does not necessarily mean you have failed in your recovery efforts.  Taking steps right away to return to rehab is the best way to get back on track.  

Struggling With Relapse?  Contact Design for Change Recovery Today

Avoiding relapse during the holidays is not easy.  If you don’t get through the festive season without relapsing, we can help.  Our compassionate staff understands what it is like to have a relapse and the emotions and challenges it entails.  We are committed to keeping you from feeling judged or disrespected during your time in our program.

We are also here for individuals who are still struggling with addiction.  Our comprehensive program offers various methodologies that can be customized to each person’s specific needs.  

Don’t let relapse keep you from reaching the recovery goals you planned.  Reach out to our Lancaster, CA facility and we will help you get back on track.

Everyone at Design for Change Recovery wishes you a sober, joyous holiday season.

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