“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” but for recovering addicts, temptation lurks around every corner. While you may want to eat, drink, and be merry with your family and friends, it’s important to know your triggers before attending social events. During this season of cocktails and parties, you may find yourself wishing you could join in on what seems like a holly jolly time.
Others find the holidays difficult to navigate emotionally because of family tension or loneliness. Coping with stress makes recovering addicts much more prone to relapsing. This is when it’s important to remember what you’ve learned in addiction treatment and wake up every morning with a plan of how you’ll stay sober.
Learn What Could Trigger a Relapse
In rehab, it’s essential to learn your relapse triggers, as every recovering addict has them. The most common relapse triggers correspond to the “HALT” acronym:
Stay Focused on What’s Important During the Holidays
You’ve likely heard that sobriety is a continual journey and not a destination, and that’s why you must be strong-willed and assess the risks around you. For instance, if you’re going to a holiday party with an open bar, you should consider it a high-risk event no matter how long you’ve been sober. You can avoid the temptation to drink by keeping a nonalcoholic beverage in hand so you’re less tempted if someone offers to get a drink.
To ward off the mental and physical urge to use, you should be aware of your emotions and have a plan in place ahead of time. Keep your stress under control, too, so you’ll be prepared to decompress and meditate whenever you feel cravings. You don’t have to act on every thought. In a desperate scenario, take 20 minutes to rethink whether you really want that drink, as cravings typically only last 20 minutes. Give yourself something else to satisfy your craving, and take your mind off drugs or alcohol with a more positive activity that won’t destroy your hard-won sobriety.
Struggling to Stay Sober? Consider Going Back to Rehab.
Maybe you think rehab is the last place you want to be for the holidays, but think of it in another light. Maintaining your sobriety is the best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones, especially at this time of year.