holiday socks

How To Avoid a Relapse This Holiday Season

SoCal Detox
SoCal Detox

SoCal Detox editorial contributors include writers, editors, mental health and substance abuse treatment professionals who are trained to create credible and authoritative health information that is accurate, informative, and easy to understand.

The holidays are the time of year when family and friends gather together to eat, drink and be merry. While this time of year is filled with merriment and love, it can also be one of great anxiety for those early in recovery. Holiday parties, family get-togethers and other social functions are filled with triggers and temptations that can lead to relapse. Whether you are new to recovery or have some substantial clean and sober time under your belt, it is important to be aware of all the issues that can surface when the holiday season approaches.

With some thought and careful planning, you can create a plan that will help you avoid a relapse during the holiday season. The following are some great tips that will help you enjoy this festive time of year clean, sober and happy.

Have a Plan to Stay Sober Every Day

The best way to avoid relapse during the holiday season is to start your day with a plan to stay sober. While this takes place every day in the life of a recovering addict, the holiday season brings extra stresses and triggers that may not be present during other times of the year. Whether it is attending extra 12-Step meetings, volunteering, eating healthy or engaging in an regular exercise program, you need to fill you day with productive recovery-friendly activities in order to keep your mindset sharp and focused.

Assess the Situation

Your inbox and mailbox gets flooded with countless invitations to holiday work parties, dinner parties and other holiday-themed social functions. When you are in recovery, every social function has a certain degree of risk in regards to triggers that can lead to relapse. With each invitation you receive during the holiday season, you should assess each event as a high-risk, medium-risk or low-risk situation. If you are newly recovering, you may want to think about skipping holiday festivities and work further on your recovery. If you do decide to attend, the best way to minimize risk of relapse at a holiday party is to PLAN AHEAD. Bring support if you need, have phone numbers of recovering peers handy and have an exit strategy planned in advance

Bring the Party With You

sober party during the holidays

A great way to avoid relapse during the holidays is to bring your own non-alcoholic beverages. Flavored mineral or seltzer water and sparkling grape juice are excellent substitutes for alcoholic beverages. You can also bring the ingredients needed to create your own non-alcoholic “mocktails”. If the holiday event you are attending as a bar, ask the bartender what  “mocktail” specialities they can make. Having a non-alcoholic drink in your hand will help you feel more confident in these social situations. Whether you supply your own drinks or are able to get non-alcoholics drinks at the bar, it is very important that you ALWAYS get your own drink and not let anyone else get it for you. This will minimize the risk of someone getting you an alcoholic cocktail by mistake.

Rehearse Your Responses

There will be times at a holiday party where someone will offer you an alcoholic drink or may ask if you want something to drink. This situations can be awkward because you don’t want to offend someone’s offer, yet you want to get the point clearly across that you no longer drink. When you are in recovery and are looking to minimize the risk of relapse during the holiday season, it is very important that you have a set of canned and rehearsed responses at the ready. These responses don’t have to be elaborate; they should be simple, polite yet to the point. Responses such as “I am not drinking tonight” or “I am the designated driver” work well in these types of situations.

Use Your Support System

One of the best ways to avoid relapse during the holidays is to utilize your support system. Bring a supportive family member, friend or someone from your 12-Step group with considerable recovery time to an event for extra encouragement and support. As stated earlier, have the numbers of those in your support group programmed in your phone and ready to use. When you are planning on going to a party, it is best to tell those in your support group beforehand and ask if they would be available to pick you up if you need.

Are You Needing Help This Holiday Season?

Have you made the resolution to get clean and sober this holiday season? Your first step in making your goal of recovery a reality is completing medical detoxification. For high quality and safe detox services in Orange County, SoCal Detox is your first choice. Our detox programs are safe, effective and proven to work. Our experienced detox staff is able to create an individualized detox plan that addresses your specific physical and psychological issues in order to give you the best chance at long-term recovery.

Call SoCal Detox today!

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