Relapse Prevention for Holidays and Celebrations

 Relapse is part of recovery. Have faith in relapse prevention.  When many people attempt to get clean and enter treatment it is not uncommon for them to have a few bumps in the road.

Do not let that discourage you, continue to grow from your mistake make. In order to strengthen your chances at getting it right there are a few steps you need to take.  First understanding the reasons for relapse which are:

  1. Stress - People or places connected to addictive behavior
  2. Negative or challenging emotions
  3. Seeing or sensing the object of your addiction – a whiff of marijuana smoke
  4. Times of Celebration

Do all of these remind you of something coming up?  Yes, yes, the Holidays.  Not only are these stressful times, but most likely there is going to be another factor that will not help, your family.  Without years of sobriety it can be difficult to anticipate where your triggers will come from.  Many addicts in recovery new to a drug free life can be extremely triggered when it comes to their families.  One of New Roads Treatment Centers talented therapists, Ines Korbanka, CMHC talks about how the holidays are a tough time when new to sobriety and steps to take to prevent a situation, in this video: 

Don’t worry we are going to give you an easy process to make it through the holidays and prevent relapse. Here are some things you have to do to prepare yourself:

  1. It is essential to make a plan for the holidays.   Prepare for the worst and your results will be excellent.  Take a look at the provide relapse prevention worksheets that will allow you to prepare.
  2. Don’t forget about your Support System.  They are there for you. USE YOUR PHONE.  Text, e-mail, engage – you will probably be on it anyway!
  3. Don’t forget about your boundaries with your friends and family.  Stay strong in not letting your lush of a family member enable you.
  4. Have an exit route.  EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED!
  5. Don’t be afraid to express to your family you are feeling vulnerable.  They will understand and know that your sobriety is the most important thing.

How to stay sober during the holidays If you do all these things then you exponentially increase your chance over the holidays of staying sober. Here is a quick example of a holiday situation: You are headed home for Holidays for the first time in a year.  Your extended family does not know you have gone through extensive treatment for the past 9-months and have been on your own for 3 months, so you are somewhat new to sobriety.  You are relaxing watching TV, and your crazy Uncle shows up drunk.  What do you do!?!?  Good thing you followed the holiday relapse prevention instructions because you planned for this:

  • You remove yourself from his presence and let your family know you are uncomfortable being around him while he is drunk.
  • You pick up your phone and step outside for a second and call your sponsor or support network to let them know what is happening.
    • He gives you great advice to distract yourself.
  • You go back in after talking to your support and help out with cooking dinner and have a FANTASTIC time! The best part is you made it through it and remained sober

The Holidays can be hard but remember what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

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