Recovery During the Holidays
They are the most wonderful time of the year, however, they can also be the most challenging for individuals who suffer from substance use disorder. Whether it is your first holiday season in recovery or if you’ve been sober for many years, recovery during the holidays has its challenges. Keep reading to find out more about recovery during the holidays and how to put your sobriety first this holiday season.
Recovery During the Holidays: Your Chances for Relapse Rises
Relapse rates range between 40 to 60 percent for heroin and up to 90 percent for alcohol, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. With such high numbers, it is extremely important to remember that going into the holiday season, your sobriety is vulnerable to relapse, and maintaining your recovery during the holidays might be a little bit more difficult than throughout the rest of the year.
This makes it extremely important to:
- Know the signs of relapse before it occurs
- Listen to loved ones who are expressing concerns
- Keep up with meetings and therapy sessions
- Get help when it is time to get help
Common Holiday Triggers
The one thing you do have in control of when it comes to your recovery during the holidays is how well you prepare for the most common holiday triggers. That way, when a situation arises, you are ready to handle it in the best way you know how.
While going to holiday events and parties is usually commonplace, this year might look a little different amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Moving forward, it can be important to remember this one after the pandemic passes. Even still, you might choose to gather with family and friends — whether in-person or virtually — and this can still be just as triggering.
One way to help your recovery during the holidays is to bring your own refreshments to holiday events. This way, you won’t be as tempted to partake in alcohol. If you’re not ready to let others know that you’ve been to treatment, club soda with a wedge of lime will help avoid any questions about why you’re not drinking until you’re ready to talk about it.
In addition, having an exit plan, such as an excuse to leave early when you’re feeling triggered, is essential. This also includes not offering to be a designated driver, offering to participate in clean-up, or even being the host this year if you find that you might become too overwhelmed.
Dealing with Triggering Family Members
As much as you love your family, there might be some situations in which certain family members might be triggering for you. This can be for any number of reasons, whether you share different political views, have used together before, or if they just know all the right ways to push your buttons.
This can be triggering for anybody, but especially for people in recovery. A great way to combat this trigger is by leaning on your sober support — or even avoiding gatherings this year in which this person (or people) may be present until you are more comfortable.
The holidays can be expensive and cause financial strain. Whether it is from purchasing gifts, purchasing decorations, or shelling out for expensive travel costs, the holidays tend to give everybody a hit on their wallet. If you are particularly strapped for cash this year, be honest with your friends and family members. Given the hardships that the Coronavirus has presented, they will likely be more than understanding.
Above all, making sure your mental health is number one when it comes to maintaining your recovery during the holidays. This means you must make time for self-care each and every day. Ways you can maintain self-care include:
- Watch a funny movie at the end of the day
- Call your friends or family
- Head to a meeting
- Take a nice, long shower or bubble bath
- Have a handful of leftover Halloween candy
However you decide to spend a little “you” time, make sure you do it so that you don’t become too lonely and bored this holiday season, both of which can put you on the fast-track to relapse.
About Seasons in Malibu
Sometimes, no matter how much you prepare for maintaining your recovery during the holidays, a relapse might happen. If it does, we are here for you.
If you find that you need treatment during the holiday season, we are here for you. Treatment at Seasons in Malibu is systemic, integrative, and client-centered. Our philosophy is grounded in the understanding that in order for the client to heal, the entire system needs the opportunity to heal along with them. The pressure to “fix” the client can become overwhelming and unrealistic if we do not examine the underlying issues, dynamics, and environmental influences that might be contributing to substance abuse or ongoing mental health issues. Whenever practical, we try to include close loved ones in sessions and in the entire process of recovering from addiction and/or addressing mental health issues.
With our superior team of clinicians, we are able to succinctly pinpoint those areas of focus which will give the client the most advanced opportunity for success. Our approach towards healing is collaborative, comprehensive and committed.
For more information, visit seasonsmalibu.com