The Holidays are a fun and joyous time of the year, but it can also bring about memories or stressors that lead to substance abuse. In short, the holiday season can be extremely triggering for recovering addicts.  Here at Atlanta Recovery Place, we understand that the holidays can be stressful and bring about pressures that are unwanted. Today we’d like to provide some tips on how to keep your recovery strong and prevent relapse around the holidays. 

What Is a Drug Relapse?

Drug relapse is when an individual who stops using a drug returns to drug use. Relapse is very common and normal for individuals who are recovering from drug addictions. It takes practice, discipline, and patience when learning to live without drugs. There are three different forms of relapse: emotional relapse, mental relapse, and physical relapse. 

Emotional Relapse 

Emotional relapse occurs when an individual remembers their last relapse/worries about relapsing again. This worrisomeness leads to overthinking. This influx of emotions and their resulting behaviors start to lay the foundation for this individual’s next relapse. Signs of emotional relapse are isolation, such as not attending meetings or sharing at meetings, focusing on other people’s problems, and poor sleeping & eating habits. During this stage of relapse there are two main goals. The first goal is to help the individual understand just how important self-care is. The second goal is to help with the patient’s denial on understanding their risk of relapse and to avoid the progression through the rest of the stages of the relapse. 

Mental Relapse 

Mental relapse occurs when an individual has an internal struggle between their desire for the drug and their desire to remain abstinent. The signs of this internal struggle includes the craving of the substance, thinking about different things in which are associated with their past, exaggerating the positive of drug use/minimizing the negative consequences, lying, bargaining, seeking out opportunities for drug use, planning a relapse, etc. 

Physical Relapse

Physical relapse is the final stage of relapse and it occurs when an individual resumes the use of the drug/substance. 

Tips for Preventing a Relapse Around the Holidays

The holiday season can be very joyful, but it can also be an uphill climb for individuals who are struggling with an addiction. Holiday traditions, customs, or even memories may bring back the want for the substance or lead to a future relapse. Below we have provided some tips on preventing a relapse during the holiday season.

Plan Ahead of Time

Preparing a plan that will help you to feel supported during the holidays is crucial in maintaining sobriety. This may entail going to therapy or a 12-step meeting before or after attending an event where the pressures of substance use may occur. 

Understand the Emotions in Which the Holiday May Bring

This may involve talking with a therapist, friend, or trusted individual. This could involve understanding that the holidays can be a stressful time and bring back unwanted memories. Having support whether from friends, family members, or others can help to lessen the stressors that this season may bring. 

Practice Self-Care

It is important to take time for yourself during the holiday season. Making sure that you are cared for mentally, emotionally, and physically can help to prevent a future relapse. Do things that will help you to continue to remain strong while going to the recovery process. 

Avoid Triggering Situations

If you know that you will experience a situation in which you will feel vulnerable or pressured into doing something that could cause a relapse to occur, try to avoid that situation at all costs.

How Atlanta Recovery Place Can Help You

Here at Atlanta Recovery Place, we want our clients to feel like they are prepared when going into the holiday season. Recovery during the holidays can be difficult, but it’s important to make sure you have a plan and support when facing the pressures and stressors that may occur during this time. Reach out to us today to find more tips and support for the holiday season!

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