The holidays are supposed to be a time of happiness and fun for everyone. However, if someone is in recovery from an alcohol or drug addiction, or is newly sober, holidays and the activities surrounding them can often be overwhelming and full of triggers to relapse.
Why Relapses Are So Common During the Holidays
Many factors could cause patients recovering from substance abuse to relapse during the holiday season. Holidays are filled with disruptions to regular schedules, mealtimes, and habits, which can not only be disorienting for someone who relies heavily on a schedule or routine to get through each day but could also cause extra stress and anxiety.
Dealing with nosy or unsupportive relatives, having to answer dozens of questions about their treatment, or attending parties with alcohol can all produce triggering events that could result in the individual relapsing to deal with their emotional reactions to stress or simply because they didn’t want to feel left out.
Understanding why these triggers occur and how best to manage them can help your clients enjoy a happy, positive holiday experience.
Tips to Help Patients Stay Sober Through the Holidays
For people in recovery, some of the best tips for staying sober are knowing and avoiding their triggers. However, this isn’t always enough, and they may need additional guidance in dealing with the stressors of the holiday season.
A lot of what goes into addiction recovery is planning. How to respond to questions, when to leave certain situations, and how to react to backhanded comments are all important parts of learning to deal with the reality of life in recovery.
Making a plan and knowing exactly what to say and do in potentially uncomfortable situations can go a long way toward helping reduce their impact on you.
Even well-meaning friends and family members can overstep boundaries at times. Whether it’s the questions they’re asking, the way they behave around you, or the expectations they place on you, boundaries are one of the best ways to keep your relationships healthy and your mental health stable.
Get a Support System
Whether this means taking a sober friend with you to family gatherings or finding support groups to help you get through the festive season, have someone you can turn to for support when you’re feeling tempted or your emotions are spiraling.
Know Your Triggers
The holidays are a time of year where relapse triggers can become even more intense and common. Knowing which situations and people will negatively affect your sobriety and avoiding or finding ways to manage them can help you lower the chance of relapsing.
Be Mindful of Your Thoughts and Emotions
Pay attention to how your thoughts and emotions change during the holiday season and be mindful of when they turn negative. When this happens, you may need to remove yourself from the situation or environment that is causing your emotional or psychological discomfort or pain.
Taking a few days away from people or places that bring up bad memories or feelings can help you clear your head and re-approach the situation with a new perspective.
Get Help if You Need It
Holiday events don’t mean you can’t reach out for help or treatment. If you’ve recently left an addiction treatment facility, reaching out to them and finding out if they have any aftercare services available is a good start.
If you feel you need more help or are in danger of relapsing, the best next step would be to reach out to recovery centers near you to re-enter an outpatient treatment plan.
How to Boost Patient Outcomes Around the Holidays
Holidays, and the holiday season, can all be overwhelming and challenging to people struggling with addiction or trying to remain sober. RecoverWell acts as an online matchmaking service between potential patients and the rehab and treatment programs that best suit their personal needs, budget, and treatment requirements.
By providing streamlined access to personalized substance use disorder treatment, RecoverWell can help you improve patient outcomes by ensuring they get the treatment they most urgently need. Our platform can help you improve the continuum of care offered to patients to help them on their sober journey.
Sign up for RecoverWell today to help your patients stay sober through the holidays and avoid relapses.