Don’t Stress the Holiday Season: Coping Tips to Avoid Relapse
The holiday season is quickly approaching, which can be filled with all kinds of stress, especially for those in recovery from drug addiction or alcohol use disorder. An unexpected event or emotion can easily trigger cravings. Without the proper tools and stability, relapse during the stressful holiday season could cause you to fall back into the cycle of addiction. This blog will highlight some common relapse triggers during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays, as well as provide some tips to help you stick to your sober principles.
Common Holiday Season Triggers that can cause Relapse or Cravings:
- Tenuous family relationships
- Being or feeling lonely during the holidays
- Pressures of the holidays including parties, money, presents and travel
- Constantly being around alcohol and those under the influence
10 Tips to Avoid Relapse During the Holiday Season
Maintain your Overall Health: Stay on track with your diet and exercise and make sure you are getting plenty of sleep and lots of water. Getting away from your usual routine can lead to exhaustion and stress – common causes of relapse.
Stay on Track with Meetings & Therapy Sessions: Schedule your therapy sessions in advance to ensure there are no cancellations if your therapist already has a holiday vacation planned.
Bring a Sober Buddy: It is always easier to stay on track at parties where alcohol is involved when you have a sober buddy by your side.
Remember the Importance of No: Whether it’s turning down a drink or declining a party invitation altogether, don’t be afraid to say “no” and stand your ground.
Check in on your Sober Friends: Reach out to your sober friends to offer support and make sure they’re staying on track, which can also help you stay on track.
Plan your Alibi: You don’t have to divulge any information about your past, but it is best to have an alibi as to why you’re not drinking (“I’m the designated driver”) or why you need to skip out on the party altogether.
Volunteer: Spending time at a local shelter or food bank reminds you of how lucky you are for what you have and where you are on your sober journey.
Bring a (non-alcoholic) Beverage Safety Blanket
Don’t Isolate Yourself: It can be tempting to avoid dealing with holiday parties and being surrounded by alcohol, but this is not a healthy way to deal with holiday stress. Spending too much time in isolation is a trigger and can lead to relapse.
Have Fun & Enjoy the Holiday Spirit: Go to a Christmas musical, see a holiday light show or go to a Christmas village – there are so many fun, sober ways to enjoy the holiday season!
At Acceptance House Sober Living, our mission is to provide a safe and structured housing environment for individuals in recovery from substance use disorder. We strive to help our residents build healthy, independent and productive lives. If you or someone you love is looking for safe sober housing in Bucks County, PA or Southern, NJ, contact our main office at 856-465-7310.