The holidays are often a stressful time for countless Americans. In addition to the work you may be scrambling to finish in order to take some much-needed time off, you may also have to worry about buying gifts for family members and friends and planning holiday meals. Christmas and New Year’s are also stressful times for people who are recovering from drug or alcohol addictions because they come with many opportunities to relapse.
There are various reasons why people feel compelled to drink or use drugs during the holidays. New Year’s Eve is the second holiday people most often associate with binge-drinking, with the average number of drinks consumed being 4.4. Social drinking is the top activity people engage in when they attend Christmas and New Year’s parties with friends and even coworkers. It can be challenging for people in recovery to resist drinking or using drugs when they’re surrounded by others engaging in it or encouraging them to join in the festivities.
Other triggers for relapse during this season can include loneliness if you don’t have anyone to celebrate this time with, Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is depression associated with the shorter and darker days of wintertime, and sheer boredom, which is common if you have nothing planned for your time off.
Fortunately, our team has some tips to help individuals who are nervous about the month ahead. It’s important to know that there are a variety of healthy coping mechanisms out there for people to utilize beyond our list, and what may work for someone else might not necessarily work for you.
How to Avoid Relapse During The Holidays
Have a Detailed Schedule for Your Time Off
People’s minds often turn to alcohol or drugs when they’re spending time alone and feel bored. It can be helpful to keep yourself busy by planning each of your days and filling them with activities or opportunities to socialize with others.
Attend Meetings or Therapy
It’s more important than ever to remind yourself of the coping mechanisms you learned in your recovery programs by continuing to go to therapy or attend your group meetings. You may also feel comforted being among people who are experiencing the same negative feelings as you during the holidays.
Lean on Your Support System
If your friends and family members are supportive, you may want to speak with them about not hosting any parties or activities involving drinking. Instead, you may want to engage in family game nights. If your loved ones have accompanied you on this journey so far, they will understand how challenging this may be for you and do their best to remove triggers.
Put Your Mental Health First
If you already practice activities that boost your mental health and self-esteem such as yoga, meditation, or journaling, it may be helpful to make additional time for these. Physical exercise and activities that promote self-reflection may help you divert your mind and recenter yourself.
If You Relapse, Don’t Wait To Seek Help
If you or a loved one has relapsed and developed an addiction, it’s important to remind yourself that not all hope is lost. Relapse is extremely common among those in recovery, as the recorded rate of relapse for substance use disorders is estimated to be between 40 and 60 percent. Drugs affect the mind body and soul, when a relapse occurs, it’s important to nip it in the bud before healthy relationships and the hard work is ruined.
The first step you must take to recommit to a life of recovery is to detox or rid your body of toxins. It’s recommended that you seek professional help for your detox in a facility you can trust. The Nestled Recovery Center offers specialized detox treatments for individuals struggling with alcoholism, cocaine addiction, fentanyl addiction, and more. Detoxing can be at best uncomfortable and at worst dangerous, which is why it’s beneficial to your health and safety that you check into a facility that can monitor your withdrawal symptoms. We provide a peaceful and safe environment for patients to detox, as well as an intensive inpatient program that you can enroll in immediately after to continue your journey.
The Nestled Recovery Center understands that relapse happens. If you or someone you love is struggling and needs help, whether it be medical detox or therapy, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today at (702) 299-6406, or via our online form.