Despite the happy moments that can come with the holiday season, many people in recovery from a substance use disorder worry about losing control of their sobriety. Relapse can happen for a variety of reasons, depending on how long a person has been in recovery, what sort of treatment programs they are participating in, and how well they are prepared to deal with triggers. Whether you are traveling or sticking close to home this year, we have four tips for avoiding relapse triggers during the holidays.
1. Skip the Party
The holidays put the spotlight on eating, drinking, and social events, many of which heavily feature alcoholic drinks or incorporate drug usage. Being around people who are using substances can increase the chances of relapsing. If you know a party or other get-together may be more trouble than it’s worth, give yourself permission to skip attending it. If you feel comfortable being honest with a host about why you won’t be going to their party, that’s great. If not, you can tell them you have previous plans or just need to enjoy some downtime during the busy season.
2. Avoid Isolation
Many people find themselves feeling lonely during the holidays. They may isolate themselves on their own or feel they have no choice but to be alone. Make an effort to avoid isolation whenever possible. Reach out to loved ones and get together, whether for a whole day or just a cup of coffee. If you are inclined to turn down invitations, push yourself to accept one or two in order to be around other people.
If social events and loved ones are in short supply, look for opportunities to do volunteer work. Even just going to a mall, park, or restaurant and being among other people can boost your spirits. The less lonely a person is, the less likely they are to be tempted to relapse.
3. Plan For Downtime
As important as it is to enjoy time doing fun things during the holidays, make sure you don’t overextend yourself. Plan for downtime that allows you to relax and recharge. It might include some time alone or time spent with others just relaxing and watching a film or catching up in conversation. Not every event needs to require running around, lots of energy, and an agenda of things to do.
Remember that activities like yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and massage therapy all provide you with needed downtime. They also function as self-care, which is key to avoiding relapse triggers during the holidays. Build in breaks to read a book, listen to music, or check out the latest episode of your favorite podcast. Even fifteen-minute breaks taken during the day allow you to relax.
4. Keep Up With Your Treatment Plan
Relapse can come about because a person has stopped being vigilant about attending treatment programs that can help them. Recovery from addiction involves a long-term approach, including taking advantage of options like outpatient programs, sober living houses, support groups, and more. The longer a person remains in some form of treatment, the more successful they will be at avoiding relapse triggers during the holidays and throughout the year.
If you attend therapy, support groups, holistic activities, or any other treatment programs, do not let the holidays be an excuse to let them slide. Consult with your treatment providers about any needed changes to dates and times of appointments, and make sure you keep up attendance.
What Are the Warning Signs of a Relapse to Help Avoid Relapse Triggers During The Holidays?
One effective way of avoiding relapse triggers during the holidays involves learning to recognize the warning signs of an impending relapse. Warning signs can include:
- Experiencing stress or anxiety
- Having easy access to drugs or alcohol
- Stopping treatment or reducing time spent in treatment programs
- Isolating from loved ones and activities
- Involvement in toxic relationships, including with those who have their own addiction to drugs or alcohol
- Experiencing increased or unaddressed mental illness symptoms
- Believing that “just one” time using substances won’t be harmful
- Reestablishing contact with dealers or old friends who are addicts
- Not making things like work, school, and life goals a priority anymore
What To Do If You Are Worried About a Relapse?
If you have already succumbed to relapse, the quicker you get help, the better. Reach out to a trusted family member or friend and let them know what’s going on and that you need help. If you already have a therapist, support group leader, or someone else who can help you get help quickly, let them know what’s going on.
Launch Centers provide several options for treatment plans that can help a person avoid relapse or address it if it has already happened. Even those with long-term sobriety can benefit from our programs as part of sobriety maintenance. Programs we offer include:
- Outpatient programs
- Intensive outpatient programs
- Partial hospitalization programs
- Life Skills
- Career Development
- Treatment of mental illnesses
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
- Experiential therapy
- Trauma-informed care
Get Help Avoiding Relapse Triggers During The Holidays in Los Angeles
The holidays can have a lot of joyful moments but for those in recovery from addiction, they can mean battling triggers that can jeopardize their sobriety. If you need help keeping yourself focused on recovery this holiday season and beyond, we can help. We offer detox and multiple outpatient treatment programs designed to help young adults reach their potential. Contact Launch Centers in Los Angeles and find out how we can give you the help you deserve.