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Holiday Relapse Triggers

Picture pointing out the most common holiday relapse triggers

Holidays are happy occasions that provide friends and family a chance to come together and celebrate the season. However, this time of year can push someone in recovery from addiction, especially from alcoholism, to the verge of relapse. 

Holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, etc. are the worst for those trying to overcome an addiction. The festivities, family connections, and overall stress all contribute to the risk of feeling overwhelmed. Paying attention to holiday relapse triggers is critical to maintaining sobriety at any stage of recovery.

What is it about the holiday season that makes it so risky for someone in recovery? This occasion involves dealing with intense emotions and familial difficulties as well as navigating parties. An alcohol addiction treatment program can help you learn how to face these triggers. It is important to always have a relapse prevention plan when dealing with these high levels of stress and ease of access to alcohol. 

Family Stressors

Holiday family visits can be a source of stress for many people, whether or not they are in a recovery program. Planning and hosting family gatherings requires considerable effort and might leave you feeling exhausted. 

This family reunion allows people to catch up and inquire about your activities over the last year. If this involves devoting your time and energy to addiction treatment, it may spark an embarrassing discussion.

Family reunions might evoke memories of negative interactions with toxic relatives. Some relatives tend to provoke intense emotions during family gatherings, resulting in unwarranted conflicts and disagreements. These holiday events may be stressful enough to induce a desire for drugs or alcohol.

Negative Emotions

The holiday season may evoke a range of feelings, including challenging ones. It’s normal for anyone to experience emotions like sadness, loneliness, guilt, worry, and despair at family events. For addicts, these holiday parties and events make them more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. 

During this period, remain in constant contact with your treatment team, maintain your attendance at 12-step meetings, and schedule as many sessions with your sponsor as possible. They are there to support you and keep you sober through the holiday stress.

Access to Alcohol

Keeping an alcohol-free home is essential to your recovery. However, throughout the holiday season, alcohol is easily accessible and readily enjoyed by others around you. Avoid addiction triggers like this when you are under pressure to drink alcohol to prevent yourself from relapsing. 

If you feel forced to attend a gathering, consider informing the organizer ahead of time that you will not be drinking or commit to bringing a buddy who can serve as an accountability partner.

Holiday Shopping

During the holiday season, many individuals feel pushed to purchase expensive gifts and throw lavish parties. All the presents, extra expenses, and bustle of packed shops can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety. Additionally, the added financial stress of the holidays might make you more susceptible to relapse.

Before the holiday season starts, it’s a good idea to establish a strict budget and prepare ahead, so you don’t find yourself in a bind. Try to keep in mind that the holidays are not just about gifts. This is a time of celebration that is all about exercising appreciation, thankfulness, generosity, and quality time with loved ones.

Changes in Routine

Changes in your normal routine and daily schedule are common relapse triggers. Travel, family gatherings, and other holiday-related activities might interfere with normal meeting attendance, work schedules, and exercise routines. 

During this period, it is essential to attend meetings as regularly as needed and, if feasible, organize other sober activities. Make time for family, friends, and other relationships who are supportive of your rehabilitation.

Disruption in Treatment

You deserve access to routine, high-quality mental health care throughout the year if you are battling addiction and co-occurring mental health issues. During the holiday season, it may be more difficult to receive a timely appointment or phone call from your provider. 

An unfortunate, common, and preventable relapse trap is missing regular checkups or medications that assist control your mood. Plan by ensuring you have an appropriate supply of medicine, and if your counselor or therapist is unavailable, try visiting a support group.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the most common cause of relapse?

A high level of stress is the most common cause of relapse. Stress is something that everyone in recovery has to deal with. Mindfulness strategies, exercise, and other holistic approaches are your best option to reduce stress in your daily life and the risk of relapse as well.

What are the three most common triggers for relapse from substance abuse?

The three of the most common triggers for relapse from substance abuse are:
– Stress
– People or places connected to addictive behavior
– Negative or challenging emotions

How do you deal with holiday triggers?

Instead of feeling anxious about potential triggers, follow the following advice for a relapse-free holiday.

– Identify your triggers
– Learn to tell when you are getting stressed
– Set reasonable expectations
– Practice handling your triggers

Why are holidays hard for addicts?

The holidays are commonly linked with indulgence and extravagance. There is a mindset surrounding excessive presents, food, and beverages. Increased alcohol or drug use around the holidays might worsen substance use disorders.

What are some tips to stay clean and sober during holidays?

Here are some tips to stay clean and sober during holidays:

– Start each day with a plan
– Talk about your recovery
– Know your triggers
– Lean on your support system
– Have an exit plan
– Practice self-care

Get Professional Help at The Haven Detox

Recovering during the holidays can be a stressful time, especially if you are overcoming alcohol abuse. It is important that you are surrounded by a healthy support system that will keep you on the right track toward recovery. 

You do not need to deal with it on your own, The Haven is here to help. We offer effective treatment programs with detoxification, behavioral therapies as well as medication-assisted treatment that can ease withdrawal. 

If you have already had a setback in your rehabilitation or believe you require more intense care, do not wait anymore. Call The Haven Detox at (561) 328-8627 to get back to a sober, healthy, and fun life.

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