Holiday Relapse Prevention – Maintaining Sobriety When Faced With Trigger Situations and Stress
Relapse is something every recovering addict has to face at one point or another. According the Journal of the American Medical Association, addicts in recovery have roughly a 40 to 60 percent chance of relapsing after their initial time in rehab. This relapse statistic helps to reveal the life-long struggle that many recovering addicts go through with this chronic relapsing disease known as addiction.
Certain situations or times of the year can be especially hard on the recovering person, such as the holidays. Holiday relapse prevention is especially important because the time of year can bring many isolated problems that aren’t experienced during the normal course of life. While many people may turn to whatever coping mechanisms they can find, recovering addicts have to be very careful to avoid relapse.
In this article, we will look at why coping with the holidays in recovery can be difficult and what you can do to prevent relapse from happening.
What Makes the Disease of Addiction During the Holidays Difficult to Deal With?
With family and friends visiting, buying gifts, hurriedly finishing deadlines at work and money problems around the holidays, it can be a stressful time for anyone. An addict can have this stress amplified by their recovery. Many of the issues, such as family problems, can be behind the initial substance abuse making it even more difficult to deal with. Stress has the ability to cause dormant feelings and behaviors to resurface, which for an addict can mean relapse.
The recovering person may also be alone during the holidays. Holiday relapse prevention for them can be about dealing with the isolation and loneliness they experience during this time.
Some families may also have a taboo surrounding the treatment of a person’s addiction. The secrecy and avoidance of the issues can make it a trying time for the recovering person. Coping with the holidays in recovery when members of the family, such as cousins, may have been involved with the substance abuse can be hard because of the sudden cravings that can come about from this situation. Other family members who are still addicted can be an insidious trigger for the person in recovery.
Holiday Relapse Prevention Strategies
The most important part of holiday relapse prevention is about being prepared. If you think that you will be asked several questions about your addiction, it can help to prepare some answers so that you are not forced to talk about certain issues you may still be struggling with. Your family may often bring up stories from the past which can highlight shameful behavior. Having a prepared response and reaction to this can help to keep your emotional balance.
If you are going to be in contact with people that you used to abuse drugs with during the holidays, it can be equally as important to role-play or practice your responses with another before being in the situation where relapse triggers will be present. For example, it would be a good idea to practice turning your cousin or family friend down when he or she offers to go down to basement to smoke.
If you are going to find yourself alone over these holidays, it is important to plan activities that are healthy and conducive to your recovery. This may be activities that you’ve never tried before such as caroling or something more familiar such as seeing a holiday movie.
For those who are dealing with an addiction during the holidays and want to maintain their sobriety, remember that if all else fails, help is always just a phone call away. Get in touch with the WhiteSands Treatment Centers over these holidays if you need help staying away from old destructive behaviors of your past. Call us today at (877) 855-3470.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.