The different ways to avoid addiction relapse can be a lifesaver during the holiday season. Having a lot of free time during the holidays can easily lead you back to substance abuse. As peaceful as the holidays may seem, they are also popular for addiction relapse. During the holidays, drug and alcohol relapse rates may spike by 150%.
As a result, there’s a need to equip yourself with tools to fight against addiction relapse, especially during the holiday season. The first step is to understand how addiction relapse happens. Addiction relapse can be a result of mental, social and physical reasons.
Holidays come with expectations, stress, parties and endless family work. All these factors can culminate to make it easy for a relapse to occur. Prior knowledge of these potentially triggering situations and knowing how to prepare for them is an excellent way to avoid addiction relapse.
In this blog, we’ll enlighten you on why substance abuse is easy during holidays. Also, we’ll provide you with tips to prevent addiction relapse, Firstly, let’s discuss how holiday stress can affect someone in addiction recovery treatment.
Why Holiday Stress Can Lead to Substance Abuse
It’s sad and frustrating when you realize that the joy of holidays can also bring the misery of relapse. There are several reasons why the stress that comes with holidays can easily make you abuse whatever substance you have a standing issue with.
For some people, the trigger factor is old wounds, buried grievances or family matters. Holidays have their way of digging up these factors. In detail, here are the different forms of holiday-related stress that can cause addiction relapse:
Fear of not belonging
In places like Ontario, it’s hard to maintain holiday sobriety. That’s because there are always lots of parties during the holidays. Parties during holidays are dangerous for addicts because of the pressure to feel among your peers.
When you can’t do what others are doing, it takes away the joy of being there. And that pressure is mostly overwhelming. As a result, whether it’s the bottle or illegal drugs, the chances are high that you’ll indulge — just to fit in.
Dark days (SAD)
When you experience longer nights and shorter days, you’re affected by a severe biological condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder. It affects everyone differently. But it comes with depression and lethargy. This can exacerbate addiction-related cravings that come during the holiday.
Lack of sleep
It’s hard to make the right decisions when you’ve not had enough sleep. Holidays are known for round the clock activities. That leaves you using all your energy with little time for sleep.
For someone in recovery, this can be a dangerous state to find yourself in. Tiredness will hinder your decision-making process. As a result, if you have to deal with cravings during this period, you may end up making the wrong choice. That’s why sleeping is one of the easiest ways to avoid addiction relapse.
Here’s How to Avoid Addiction Relapse During the Holidays
With the factors discussed in the previous section, it’s easy to see why the holidays have such high addiction relapse rates. To stop you from becoming a part of this statistic, here are some tips to help you avoid addiction relapse during the holidays.
Make recovery a priority
For the best results, your day should include a therapy session, a 12-step meeting, plus some activities at home that are focused on recovery. For example, you can meditate or read a book on mental wellness.
Do your best to make sure your day’s structure is informed by the principles of recovery first and foremost. This way, there’s only one thought that will be foremost on your mind — my sobriety journey is important!
Have a pre-planned response
The holidays can be incredibly stressful for those recovering from addiction treatment. These days drugs and alcohol are a central part of many parties around Ontario. For instance, say you’re expecting to be around alcohol. Before leaving home, think about your response to reject it when you’re offered a drink.
A simple “no, thank you” is mostly not enough. Additionally, you can:
- Keep it simple: Do this by saying you’re not interested tonight or saying you have to get an early start tomorrow.
- Try humour: You don’t need to announce your sobriety. Except you choose to do so personally. You can divert the offering with humour.
- Finally, if you feel comfortable, you can let your hosts know your situation.
If you have some strategies in advance, it will help you navigate the situation efficiently.
Bring a friend
If you can’t get out of a party you’re worried about attending, ask a close friend to accompany you. Discuss your worries ahead. Also, make plans on how you will both respond if you find yourself slipping.
Bringing someone who understands your sobriety to a party is the right way to avoid addiction relapse during the holiday. That will help you feel safer, and the person can hold you accountable. Before going, you can also tell a friend to contact you from time to time. This level of accountability can help keep you in check.
Look out for sober friends
During the holiday, having friends who are also sober around you helps a lot. That way, it’s easier for you to stay sober. If you don’t have a sober buddy, be the reason people around you aren’t using drugs or alcohol.
It may be tempting to avoid dealing with the stress that comes with holidays by staying at home. Sometimes, it’s even a good idea to say no to one or two outings.
However, you want to make sure you don’t spend too much time in isolation. Pick and choose the events to attend but make sure you spend time with close friends and family.
Eat, sleep and be merry
Don’t let good self-care fall to the bottom of your to-do list. Getting a good night’s sleep and remembering to eat healthfully is essential to maintain sobriety during the holiday season.
This can help you prevent relapse in winter. Also, it gets your physical levels up. This overall boost will also extend to your ability to make positive decisions. Prioritize self-care!
If you’re in recovery and are looking for ways to avoid addiction relapse during the holidays, this blog is for you. In it, we provide detailed information on how to avoid addiction relapse due to the festivities that come with holidays.
The truth is, the holidays can be a pretty stressful time. The spike in relapse and drug abuse rates is due to one major factor — stress. Uniquely so, this stress can come in different forms. In this blog, we have been able to discuss the different forms of stress that can cause a relapse during the holiday season.
The tips we discuss can also help you prevent a relapse. However, there’s still a place for professional addiction support. If you need more guidance, Addiction Rehab has experienced therapists that can speak with you. Contact us today!