The holidays can be difficult under the best circumstances, but for those who suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction, they can be especially difficult. Because of unusual stressors that come around once a year, addicts and alcoholics can be especially tempted to relapse during this time.
Holidays Create Trigger Relapse For Addicts and Alcoholics
The good news is that with some precautions you can remain sober and free from relapse. Below we’ve compiled some things you can do to help you stay on the road to recovery. Many of these revolve around doing what you do everyday to stay sober, but are tailored to the holidays. Things like attending meetings, exercising, and excusing yourself from situations where you might be tempted to drink or use drugs can also be performed during the holidays with some modifications.
While diseases like alcoholism or addiction are lifelong conditions, they can be managed. Millions of people around the world live as sober addicts and alcoholics, and many of them live happy, fulfilling lives. With these tips, some willpower, and good habits, you can remain sober during the holidays.
Know Your Triggers
The first thing you need to know to stay sober during the holiday season is what triggers you. Triggers are anything that might tempt you to drink or use again. They are easy to identify and avoid during your regular routine, but can more easily pop up during the holidays due to a change in schedule.
There are also often many more opportunities to drink, especially due to the abundance of holiday parties. Even if you’re not an alcoholic, drinking can be a trigger for drug use. The holidays can also engender feelings of loneliness, sadness, or melancholy. These can serve as triggers as well, but below we’ve made some suggestions to beat the holiday blues without alcohol or drugs.
Some stressors and triggers around the holidays may include:
- Stressors concerning travel and family gatherings
- Loneliness and heartache, depression
- Alterations to one’s daily routine
- Stressors around social gatherings where alcohol or drugs are being used
- Stressful negative emotions concerning family and the holidays
- Financial hardship associated with increased spending and pressure to spend around the holidays
- Seeing old friends and/or family that one used to use with
- Social pressure to drink alcohol
When possible, attempt to avoid these triggers. But we know around the holidays due to travel, break in routine, family obligations and more, it can be difficult. You’ll have to increasingly rely on some of the techniques of staying sober when faced with these triggers.
Tips To Stay Sober During The Holidays
Below, you’ll find some tips to help you stay sober for the holidays:
Keep Going To Recovery Meetings
One of the most important parts of staying sober for many people is attending recovery meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. During the holidays some people are tempted to stop going to these meetings, but we suggest you keep going. Even if you can’t attend your regular meeting there are online meetings that can be attended, and there is almost certainly an in-person meeting near where you will be traveling.
Don’t Stop Exercising
Exercise is one of the most underutilized antidepressants. It can help boost your mood, it can help you feel good in body and mind, and it can be used to help stop cravings. During the holidays, for many people, exercise falls by the wayside. We recommend you keep your regular workout schedule. Many gyms offer short term memberships for travelers, and you can always walk or run outside, or do bodyweight exercises like pushups and situps.
Learn To Say No To Potentially Triggering Situations
You can’t do everything. If you know a situation will be potentially triggering, you can always say no. Your recovery is vastly important, not just for you, but for your family and friends as well. Potentially missing one party or gathering because you think it might trigger your drinking or drug use isn’t that big of a deal when weighed against relapse.
Rely On Your Support Group
Just like attending meetings, don’t forget to rely on your support group during this time. People like sober mentors, sober friends, and others that support your journey can be useful in making it through the holidays. If you’re worried about relapsing during this time, you can tell them ahead of time that you might need their support.
It Can Help To Volunteer Or Serve Others
One way to fight loneliness and the holiday blues, as well as feel good about yourself, is to serve others. Groups like Meals On Wheels, soup kitchens, and other volunteer organizations often need special help around the holidays. They can also be great excuses for why you can’t attend a situation where you might be tempted to relapse. And who knows, you might find a new passion.
We Can Help You Stay Sober Any Time Of Year
Better Tomorrow Treatment Center can help you stay sober all year around. We provide many services to those with drug and alcohol problems, including therapy and strategies to keep you sober over the long run. If you think you may need treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, give us a call at (844) 989-1451 to get the help you need.