The holidays are meant to be a time of reflection and relaxation as people celebrate with their family and friends. Many choose to spend time with their loved ones enjoying the chance to spend quality time. However, the holidays may also bring with it stress and additional pressures especially for those who struggle with addiction.
For those battling addictions during the holidays, this stress may be magnified. The temptation may be to fall back on old habits such as drugs and alcohol to cope with such stress, or perhaps the jovial atmosphere of a holiday party may tempt an addict to use as well. Whatever the case may be, those facing substance abuse battles will want to have reliable plans in place so that they do not make a decision they will later regret as a result.
Steps to take to prevent relapse during the holidays
First, take special note of what tends to cause you stress during the holidays. Perhaps you lost a loved one at this time of the year and this still brings you sadness. As a result, you will want to avoid situations and events that remind you of this person. Focusing on what causes you stress may be difficult at first. However, remember that you are doing so to prevent further complications later on.
Be sure to simplify your holiday plans so that you are not taking on too much or setting yourself up for failure. If there will be a party with alcohol present, then you should logically avoid such gatherings as an alcoholic. Also, avoid any parties where drugs will be present so as to not set off any addictive tendencies. Be aware that as an extra incentive, the police will be anticipating such behavior for the holidays. You will be avoiding any legal consequences that arise as a result in the process as well.
If you do end up attending a party where alcohol is present, politely decline an offer for a drink. You are not further obligated to explain why to anybody. A true friend will not question you further or pressure you about it. However, remember in turn that you can’t necessarily tell others whether they can have a drink or not. This only applies if you are hosting your own party, where you have specifically stated that you do not want any alcohol or drugs present.
If you will be attending such an event where alcohol is served, you may choose to attend with another person who is in recovery. This may help you feel less alone and more confident in your decision not to drink. By relieving such anxiety, you will be less tempted to indulge. Call a mentor or sponsor before attending if you are able to as well. They will be able to give advice and ideally, they will be available if you need to call during the festivities. If you are able to get through a single event without drinking, then the next event will only be easier. You may also choose to carry a picture of a loved one to remind you of the importance of your sobriety to those in your life.
If wine is present at an event, another option is to choose cranberry juice. This will prevent others from questioning you about your beverage. This also works if you choose a beverage such as ginger ale instead of champagne. You may also choose to arrive at such an event later on than others and leave earlier than others. The point is you still have appeared polite by accepting an invitation and showing up. There is no need to be present for the end of a party when alcohol consumption has become more excessive and others may be more likely to be pushy about your sobriety.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can handle troubles related to addiction all by yourself. If you need to confide in someone close to you so that you can help get something off your chest, then you should. Be sure the person you choose is someone you know will listen and not be judgmental. You may choose to speak with a professional counselor, especially if you are not sure you have someone close to you that you can confide in.
Continuing care support groups are always available for additional help if needed as well, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. It’s important to remember that you are not alone and that there are plenty of others out there who will be struggling to maintain sobriety this holiday season as well.