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Holiday Relapse Triggers to Avoid

Snowman cookie

For as much festive fun as the holidays can be, they can also spell serious trouble for people dealing with alcohol addiction or drug addiction. While trying to celebrate the holidays and visit family and friends, a person in a drug recovery program can be faced with all sorts of frustrating relapse triggers. After a while, anyone’s willpower can bend when dealing with so many triggers in such a short amount of time. To stop that from happening to you, it is important to know where to expect holiday relapse triggers so you can avoid them.

Four common holiday relapse triggers include:

  • Parties with no sober options: It is important for all holiday party hosts to include plenty of sober options for people who don’t want to drink alcohol. Soda, fresh apple cider, sparkling water, and tea are all good party staples for the non-drinkers. If someone who is fighting alcohol addiction goes to a holiday party and doesn’t have any exciting options for their beverage, then they could feel left out of the celebration. That feeling of isolation might be what triggers a relapse and tips them back to alcohol abuse. When you’re going to someone else’s party, ask them ahead of time if they will be serving sober options for guests.
  • Stressful family members: Most people will admit that spending too much time around their extended family can cause them to pull out some hair in frustration. Usually, there is one specific family member who pushes buttons, possibly intentionally. The stress of dealing with that person or people can be overwhelming, making people in addiction recovery feel tempted to “escape” by using a substance again. If you know that there is someone in your family who gets under your skin, you should plan to avoid them at the party or simply skip the party until they leave.
  • Packed shopping schedules: Another big source of holiday stress is shopping, especially if you have to complete a lot of shopping in the last few days of the month. Whether you are inside a crowded store or browsing suggested gift ideas online, shopping should be fun. If it isn’t, then the stress it adds to your life could endanger your sobriety. Take a break from shopping if you are finding that it is making you think disparaging thoughts about relapsing. Consider teaming up with a friend or family member to help you finish your shopping list, which could be a lot of holiday fun after all.
  • Seasonal affective disorder: People with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can experience heightened depression and anxiety around the holidays as the winter season sinks in. Shorter days and colder nights can bring a feeling of hopelessness and sorrow. If those feelings can get too strong, then a person in recovery could try to numb or replace them with feelings of intoxication. Do you think you suffer from SAD? You should speak with a trusted medical provider or psychologist to get a better understanding of your condition and a diagnosis. At which point, you will be better equipped to mitigate the worst effects of SAD like the way it can tempt you to use drugs or alcohol.

The Carter Treatment Center in Georgia wishes you a fun, safe, and sober holiday season. We believe in your strength and determination to remain sober and prioritize your health and well-being. If you ever need the help of our addiction recovery specialists, please contact us online at any time.