10 Ways To Avoid Relapse During The Holidays
If you or someone you know is trying to recover from drug or alcohol abuse and you are worried that dealing with holiday excitement, family drama, and stress may trigger a relapse, this article may help. Please know that you are not alone in this situation. The holiday period is a time when relapse frequently occurs, and that is one of the reasons why people in recovery shy away from holidays.
The drug addiction or alcohol addiction recovery process can be a considerable struggle, and it's not always as easy as you think. Unexpected events or emotions can trigger the cravings of the drugs or alcohol that one is trying to recover from. Most notably, during the holiday season, recovery gets even more difficult than it ought to be.
Being away from your recovery support system makes it even more difficult for you, and it makes you vulnerable, hence, below are a few ways to avoid relapse and still enjoy your holidays to the fullest;
Plan your day
Knowing you are in your recovery stage, planning your day will be very useful for you. You need to wake up each morning thinking of ways to remain sober. Plan your outing, places you should visit and places you should not. Having this in mind, you can stay sober for the rest of the day. Also, always have an exit strategy in case things get overwhelming.
Try your best to avoid getting unnecessarily stressed during the holidays, any event that might overly stress you should be avoided entirely if possible because if you are stressed, you are likely to relapse and fall back to your addiction. This is especially true in very early recovery. But if the stress seems to be unending during the holidays, try to work-out regularly to release tension.
Try as much as possible not to get over-excited with the holiday and remain healthy. Make out time to continue with your usual exercise routine, avoid late nights, avoid being overly stressed, and keep eating healthily. Don't forget to have a good night's sleep every night, so you can wake feeling better to start the new day.
Manage your recovery schedule
It is normal that during holidays, your therapy session might be canceled, or your routine meetings may be hard to maintain. Your rehab group may also fail to meet regularly as everyone might be busy during the holiday season; in many cases, your sponsor might also be unavailable. You don't need to feel bad or go back to your addiction, instead create another support system. Try working out a schedule with some family members or friends that are supportive of your recovery so you don't get idle.
Bring a friend
Anywhere you are going to spend your holiday, try to bring a friend along with you. If possible, bring a friend who is also sober, so that the person can make you feel relaxed and bring you out of any stressful situation that you might find yourself. Be with someone that can make you laugh away any problems you might be facing and also make you feel comfortable. Also, since you are not alone, both of you can decide to take fruit juice and altogether avoid champagne.
Learn to say NO
In the spirit of the holiday, don't get too excited and say yes to every party invitation. Because not every one of your friends will be knowledgeable about you being sober. Some friends might invite you to come to have a bottle of beer with them; you can always say no. Learn to say NO at such times, and even if they insist, you can still stand your ground. Don't let anyone force you into situations involving alcohol or drugs.
Take your food and drink with you
If you are going for a party or a get-together, you can volunteer to bring some non-alcoholic drinks along with you for the host, so you won't be tempted to drink alcoholic beverages that your host might provide. This way you can have fun at the party and also drink alongside with everyone without feeling bad.
Don't isolate yourself
This is an essential factor you need to avoid. Isolation makes you depressed, and depression can push you back to the bottle or drugs that you are trying to recover from. So try as much as you can not to isolate yourself or be alone. Although staying at home might be tempting as you might want to remain indoors and relax, but that is quite dangerous. So try to go for events, spend time with your friends and loved ones. And if there is a work party, don't fail to attend so you can also have fun with others and you won't have the time to think about drugs or alcohol.
Plan your script
Avoid specific questions that can take you back to the addiction that you are trying to recover from. You are bound to meet close friends and relatives that you've not seen for a while, and questions are going to come up. Instead of answering every question, plan your answers correctly. So if those questions pop-up, you can answer without going back to your past which you are in the process of dealing with.
There is no reason why you shouldn't have fun, like every other person. That you are trying to recover from addiction doesn't mean you should not have fun. Go out and mingle with friends, meet new friends, friends that are also sober. Have fun and have a good time with other people.
The holiday season is the season of love and laughter, a period where you have fun and hang out with people you haven't seen in a while, but it still isn't enough reason for you to relapse to your addiction. Use the tips above to have great and exciting fun while avoiding relapse. Stay focused on your sobriety, and know that it is your priority.
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