life in recovery

During the holidays, it can be difficult to maintain sobriety and avoid drug use. For many, it’s one of the most challenging times for their recovery. The good news is that there are tools you can use to help you avoid triggers and temptation and keep your commitment to live life fully on your own terms.

Perhaps the holidays remind you of drinking parties, family trauma or other situations that contributed to your addiction. To help you, the staff at America’s Rehab Campuses has put together these tips to enjoy the holidays without relapsing.

Tips for Avoiding a Relapse This Holiday Season

Studies show that up to 50% of people relapse within the first three months of recovery. If you complete your recovery close to the holidays, it can be tougher than ever. Your ultimate success or failure depends on the coping skills you develop in recovery and exercise as part of your aftercare program.

You don’t need alcohol or drugs to make the holidays brighter. Instead, make a plan of your own that will help you maintain sobriety and avoid gatherings where temptations may prove too powerful to resist.

Avoid Stressful Family Gatherings

This tip applies if you have someone in your family who also struggles with addiction or if you would rather avoid family conflicts. Instead, plan your own gathering with friends and those who support your recovery.

Enjoy a Mocktail

Mocktails look like alcoholic beverages and help you avoid uncomfortable questions like “Why aren’t you drinking?” Soda water with lime, non-alcoholic beer, and even fruit juice can serve as a shield and help you avoid going for something stronger.

Practice the Buddy System

Sponsors, relatives, neighbors and trusted coworkers can help you remain sober and drug-free during holiday festivities. Have someone you can call to vent or ask for advice. If you’ve recently let go of friends as part of the recovery process, there’s nothing wrong with making new ones. You can do so by volunteering, attending church services or joining clubs or meetups that spark your interest.

Set Boundaries and Stand Firm

Well-meaning friends might want to ensure that you have a good time over the holidays. However, you need to stand firm and have a plan to avoid uncomfortable and dangerous situations. Having scripted responses can help you deflect family members who don’t respect your recovery and go a long way toward helping you avoid relapse. Although it’s tough at first, you will build confidence and keep your goals firmly in mind.

Increase Self-Care

There are many things you can do to strengthen your mental health. At America’s Rehab Campuses, we make your physical and mental recovery a priority. After rehab, you can engage with a broader community of those in recovery. Stay committed to routines that keep you focused. You can also create a list of why resisting drugs and alcohol is important.

Here are a few other ways to practice self-care:

  • Get out in nature. Go for a hike or plan another activity that gets you out into the open air. This can help you clear your head and appreciate the beauty all around you. Even a wintry walk through the park can help you appreciate the natural world.
  • Create your new year. Outline your goals for the upcoming year and devise an plan to achieve them. When you visualize the future, it can help you stand firm in the present.
  • Get help: If you suffer from seasonal affective disorder or SAD, you may be more prone to relapse during the holidays than at any other time of the year. Meet with a therapist, talk to a friend or get help elsewhere to maintain your recovery.

Contact America’s Rehab Campuses to learn more about recovery during the holidays and beyond. We can help you gain or maintain a sober perspective on the new year.