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Relapse & the holidays

If you’re in recovery, you may find the holidays to be a challenging time. The increased stress of the season puts many people in recovery at risk of relapse. Family gatherings can be especially worrisome. Though families can be a source of great support, it can be difficult to be around people who have seen you at your lowest. Memories of earlier disappointments, resentment from those you may have hurt, and guilt over your past behavior may tempt you to turn to drugs and/or alcohol to cope.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate the holidays and avoid relapse:

  • Talk to your loved ones: Sit down with your family members before the holidays to discuss any concerns you have about the upcoming festivities and let them know what, if anything, might trigger your cravings for drugs or alcohol.
  • Prepare ahead of time: If you’re attending a holiday party, plan to arrive early and leave early, as drinking tends to increase as the night goes on. Consider bringing your own non-alcoholic beverages to make sure you have something to drink.
  • Take care of yourself: Exhaustion and depression are common relapse triggers. Engage in self-care by getting enough sleep, eating healthily, exercising regularly, and taking time for quiet restoration, such as through meditation, nature walks or reading.
  • Have an escape plan: If a situation arises at a gathering, such as an argument or pressure to use, that may trigger you to relapse, remove yourself from that situation as quickly as possible. That may mean leaving altogether, finding a quiet spot to meditate, or calling your sponsor or peer recovery coach.

If you do relapse, don’t be too hard on yourself – it’s not uncommon this time of the year, and guilt and shame will only hinder your recovery. Focus on getting the help you need to get back on track. Call our Admissions office at 866-888-7880 and we’ll help you.

For more information about relapse and how to prevent it, click here.

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