4 Tips for Avoiding Relapse Triggers During the Holidays

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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
  • Detox
  • 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.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

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Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD


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Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

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    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

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    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

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