Holiday Celebration and Recovery

The holidays provide an opportunity to celebrate life and practice gratitude, but this joyous time of year can also be dangerous for those who overindulge in drugs and alcohol abuse. For instance, there were 5,505 drug overdose deaths that occurred in December of 2016, which was the highest number of overdose deaths throughout that year.  Nearly 26% of unintentional drug overdose deaths in that year were among people between the ages of 25 and 34.

Managing stress and removing yourself from social situations where alcohol and drugs are being used can prevent chances for potential relapse. Here are some tips steps you and your loved ones can take to avoid relapse triggers and enjoy the holidays without drugs and alcohol.

Tips for Avoiding Substance Abuse on Holidays

  • Politely refuse when offered drugs and alcohol at holiday events, and devise a list of excuses to use if you feel uncomfortable or pressured by others to use these substances.
  • Bring non-alcoholic beverages to parties and events where alcohol is being served.
  • Spend more time with trusted and supportive loved ones who won’t pressure or encourage you to use drugs and alcohol.
  • Participate in local AA and NA support group meetings if recovering from addiction.
  • Know how to identify and manage triggers if recovering from addiction to reduce the risk of relapse. If you need help identifying triggers, consider joining an outpatient drug rehab program that teaches you these skills.
  • Manage stress using yoga, meditation, exercise, and other healthy stress-management techniques to avoid the temptation to manage stress using drugs and alcohol.
  • Make alternative holiday plans that don’t involve drugs and alcohol, such as volunteering at a local charity or driving around to see holiday lights with relatives.

Medication Safety Tips During the Holidays

  • Use medications only as prescribed by your doctor — do not use higher doses or take medications more frequently than instructed.
  • Do not use medications with alcohol or other drugs that can cause adverse reactions like an overdose. Deadly drug combinations include opioids and benzodiazepines, and alcohol and benzodiazepines.
  • Do not stop or change your dosing regimen without first discussing it with your doctor.
  • Do not use medications prescribed to other people, and do not share your medications with others.
  • Hide habit-forming medications like opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants away from others, since these drugs offer a risk for tolerance, dependence, and addiction.
  • Flush unused medications down the toilet, or dispose of your drugs at a drug take-back event that is sponsored by your local pharmacy or law enforcement department.
Keep in mind that there are many holiday triggers of trauma that can incite substance abuse, including certain scents, songs, or rituals. In many cases, these triggers can even be interactions with friends and family. Be supportive when you can by advocating for your loved one’s recovery, relieving social and familial expectations, and refrain from offering substances to someone who is in recovery.

America’s Rehab Campuses offer a range of therapies and addiction treatment programs to help you stay abstinent from drugs and alcohol during the holidays. Fill out our free insurance verification form to learn more about your benefits and deductibles and get started with professional addiction treatment today.