Staying Sober: Your Holiday Relapse Prevention Plan
Staying Sober: Your Holiday Relapse Prevention Plan

The holidays should be a festive and happy occasion, but they also pose significant challenges. The winter season may enhance strained relationships and increase drug and alcohol temptations. This article discusses the challenges of staying sober during the holidays and seven actionable tips to prevent relapse. If you know Aunt Lucy is going to grill you about rehab, avoid her.

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Recovery Advocacy

For many people, including those in recovery, the holidays stir up difficult memories. Many of the biggest holidays in the U.S. — Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve — take place relatively close together, bringing people together often to celebrate. Maintaining sobriety during the holidays, and sticking to your treatment plan, is possible. Millions of Americans live with some form of drug or alcohol addiction, and many are in recovery. It is easy to let the holiday demands and activities disrupt our daily patterns and routines.

  • Taking time to meditate, get some exercise, practice a favorite hobby, or even just catch your breath can go a long way.
  • One effective tool for managing cravings and triggers during the holiday season is urge surfing.
  • We would like to share some insights on how to remain sober when holiday celebrations are in full swing.
  • Or you can connect with a trusted friend or family member who has supported you throughout your recovery journey.
  • Connecting with others in this way can be a new experience that takes courage.
  • If you are on a trip, and you want to start a meeting, you are free to do so.

While gratitude lists can be effective tools to help keep the momentum of treatment moving, meditating from a place of true gratitude, however, changes the brain and the way the brain functions. When done properly, anxiety diminishes, the focus of our thinking changes, and best of all, we can look at the life we’ve been given in a way that recognizes its worth. To find a treatment program, browse the top-rated addiction treatment facilities in each state by visiting our homepage, or by viewing the SAMHSA Treatment Services Locator.

Staying Sober over the Holidays

So why put yourself in the position of having to "power through" an obstacle course of relapse triggers? At family gatherings and social events, tote around your favorite non-alcoholic drink. People won't feel so inclined to offer you a drink, and they won't get the chance to pester you about your sobriety. On top of that, you can't attend your home group meeting, and you haven't heard from your sponsor in two days. Here are seven tried-and-true tips and strategies that will prepare you for the holidays, help you avoid relapse and protect you from any uncomfortable situations.

  • It’s necessary because if you’re not in recovery, you can’t be the best version of yourself.
  • Several strategies can help mitigate the temptation to drink with family, friends, or coworkers.
  • If you have fond memories of celebrating Christmas, try capturing them through a short story!
  • As we know all too well ’tis the season to overindulge with heavy meals and lots of sweets.
  • Holiday parties often include alcohol and can be tricky to navigate for people who are in any stage of the recovery process.

During the holiday season, it’s important to find ways to enjoy and even host festivities without alcohol. One great alternative is mocktails, which are alcohol-free drinks that can be just as delicious and festive. You can experiment with new, alcohol-free recipes and create your own signature mocktails. These refreshing beverages are perfect for enjoying with friends and family during holiday events.

Create a Holiday Escape Plan and Plan to Protect Your Sobriety

This can take a toll on our physical and emotional well-being. The bottom line is that a sober holiday is much more achievable when the added stress is brought down to a minimum. Let’s not forget the usual holiday stress from shopping, decorating, baking, expenses, sober holidays family dynamics, etc. It can be tempting to have “just one drink” to take the edge off. Planning a holiday in advance ensures you travel to safe places with safe people and are supported around anything that might trigger a relapse or emotional disturbance.

Morgan is freelance mental health and creative writer who regularly contributes to publications including, Psychology Today. Resting appropriately also decreases your stress and aggression levels, building resilience in recovery. Therefore, you can manage financial strain, unexpected guests, and difficult family relationships more healthily. Holidays may intensify family expectations and dynamics, enhancing the preexisting tension between family members. You may deal with expectations of holiday perfection and demands on time and energy. With a solid plan in place, individuals in recovery are equipped to face the season head-on.

Easy & Delicious

You need recovery to remain successful in your everyday life, so you must treat it that way. By implementing these practical strategies, you can confidently navigate holiday events without compromising your sobriety. In my 18 years in recovery, I’ve realized that learning and growth are continuous. It’s about finding joy in new ways and reaffirming our commitment to a life of sobriety.

  • Discover what brings you happiness, don’t hesitate to seek help when needed, and plan things to look forward to in the future.
  • "It's OK to firmly yet politely decline offers to drink," Sultan said.
  • View our editorial content guidelines to learn how we create helpful content with integrity and compassion.
  • You don’t want to change your focus to thoughts of your drinking or using days.

They can serve as a source of encouragement and help you stay on track with your sobriety goals. If everyone starts talking about the “good old days,” leave the room. You don’t want to change your focus to thoughts of your drinking or using days.

And being alcohol and drug-free can actually enhance the joy and authenticity of seasonal celebrations. If you have fond memories of celebrating Christmas, try capturing them through a short story! Make a book to share with friends and family, publish it online as a blog, or simply keep a copy for yourself.

If you’re looking for resources and tools to help you stay on track in your recovery during the holidays, has got you covered. One of the best strategies for preventing a relapse is to identify your triggers and come up with strategies for either managing or avoiding those personal triggers when possible. This can be helpful in times of stress, where you may find yourself struggling to think clearly or rationally about how to cope with urges to drink alcohol or use drugs. Feelings of loneliness can be triggering for people in recovery, even if they have a solid social support system.

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