3 Helpful Tips to Keep from Relapsing During the Holidays

The holidays can be a joyful and exciting time for many, but for those in alcohol or drug recovery, it can be a difficult time as well. Unhealthy eating, financial strain, and the stress of seeing family can provide an easy opportunity for relapse. Unfortunately, the holidays can put your sobriety and relapse prevention at risk.  Having good relapse prevention tactics in place can be the difference between a healthy and sober holiday, and one that is detrimental to your life. Here are a few tips to enjoy the holidays with those you love, and avoid putting your sobriety at risk.

Create Strategies

Creating strategies ahead of time can help you to avoid triggers. Meetings are often offered around holidays as they are known as an increased risk for those who are in recovery. This might mean that you plan to go to a meeting in the town where your aunt lives who is hosting Thanksgiving. This offers you a good sober support system during an otherwise stressful evening.  Creating a strategy might also mean that you will invite your sponsor or sober friend to keep you accountable. Another option is simply letting your family know that you do not partake in alcohol any longer, and would like their support on that. Although it is not always something that all families are willing to support, you need to create your own strategies.

Be Aware Of What Goes In Your Cup

At many holiday gatherings, alcoholic drinks are plentiful and being handed out without your sobriety in mind. Make sure you pay attention to how all drinks are being prepared. If you ask someone to get a beverage for you, they may not know that you are in recovery. The absolute worst-case scenario would be to take a drink from someone assuming it was non-alcoholic only for it to have alcohol content.  Even if you do drink a sip of alcohol without realizing it, it does not mean you will fall into relapse, but it does give you a greater chance to do so. You might think to yourself, “well I can have one.” This is dangerous because as an addict you need to know that you cannot have just one drink, you have a disease. If a mistake does happen, simply admit it to yourself and tell your sponsor. If you keep it a secret, then it will become a problem.

Avoid Known Risks

If you have spent time in rehab and your family is aware, try to avoid individuals that might trigger you or give you a hard time.  The same can be said about individuals who might pressure you into drinking. If you know you have family members or friends that do not take your recovery seriously, stay away from them. Often the holidays bring friends around that you have not seen in a while. Don’t feel like you need to “fit in” or impress them by drinking or using drugs. Always attempt to avoid relapse triggers. Staying sober is your ultimate power to stay in control of your recovery. Remember, your recovery must always come first. 

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