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Holidays in Recovery: How to Resist Temptation and Prevent Relapse

The holidays are a time for shopping, decorating, eating, and drinking? When the months become chilly and the families start to travel in, individuals who are in the recovery process may face many temptations that deviate them on their path to long-term sobriety. The relapse rates for addiction are staggering; according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 40% to 60% of addicts at some point in their recovery process will relapse. Relapse can set an addicted individual spiraling back out of control, so be sure to resist temptation during the holiday season.

Why Could Relapse Be More Common During The Holidays?

More Alcohol — The holidays bring more alcohol-centered festivities back into your life, so you are more likely to give into your alcohol cravings. If everybody in your family is drinking, it will be harder for you to stay away and avoid the pressure of drinking. There even may be holiday parties at work, so alcohol can seem impossible to get away from. The holidays encourage people to gather together, usually with alcohol in their cups, and this can be dangerous for someone who is trying to recover from an addiction.

Family Stress — Being surrounded by every member of your family at once can sometimes be a little stressful, especially for a recovering addict. Stress is a common trigger for individuals to begin using substances, so when the holidays come around, these two things may come together. If a loved one was lost in the family, holidays may be especially difficult, leading to more alcohol consumption. Make sure that you find a healthy outlet for stress this holiday season like writing or exercising so that you can avoid relapsing over the holidays when family stress becomes elevated.

Coming Back Home — If you moved away from your family to cope with your addiction and come back into town for the holidays, you may experience the same triggers, distractions, and temptations that started your addiction in the first place. Being surrounded by the same people and the same environment that your addiction first blossomed in can be a negative experience for a recovering addict’s long-term success. If this is the case for you, be aware of this situation: if your addiction started at home, going back home for the holidays can trigger a relapse.

What are Some Things to do to Stay Sober?

  • Gain awareness. The best thing that you can do to prevent relapse during the holiday season is to be aware of the difficulty ahead. 
  • Avoid the temptations. If at all possible, leaving the room or going outside to get some fresh air can help you to avoid temptations. 
  • Be strict with yourself. Stick with your plan no matter how many bottles of alcohol are surrounding you.
  • Have support. Ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable over the holiday season so that you aren’t taking on this difficult task alone. 
  • Go in with a plan. Don’t even allow yourself to have the option of just having one drink; have a plan before the event stating that you will not have any alcohol and that’s final.
  • Picture afterward. Picture yourself once you’ve made it through the holidays. How would you feel about yourself if you had any alcohol?

If you or a loved one is worried about recovering from addiction during the holiday season, get help as soon as you can. Call SAFE Prevention at 1-877-503-2608 to learn more about addiction treatment and prevention. SAFE Prevention will help you find the resources you need for your individual situation. Call us today to get started!

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