How to Avoid Relapsing During the Holidays

During the holidays people come together more often to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company—sometimes to excess. Because of this, it can be a really tough time for anyone recovering from an addiction. Here are six ways you or your loved one in recovery can avoid relapsing during the holiday season.

Photo by Mt. Hood Territory

Talk to your close friends and family about your recovery and how they can best support you during this time. For example, you may want to ask them not to offer you drinks or drugs if you’re at a social gathering. If you’re really worried, ask them not to invite you to events where you’ll be tempted to relapse.

Choose Activities Where You Know People Will Be Sober

Photo by Seemi Peltoniemi

Spend your time hanging out with people where you know everyone will be sober. You may find activities like snowshoeing, going to a cafe, hiking or enjoying a common hobby together are easier on your recovery than activities or places where you know people will be under the influence.

Spend More Time With Family and People Who Support Your Recovery

Photo by Kate Zaidova

During the holidays you may want to spend your time with people who know about and support your recovery. That way no one will pressure you into doing things you don’t want to do, and you won’t feel as though you have to keep explaining why you don’t want to go to the bar or club.

Practice Saying No

Photo by Ian Schneider

You may have to say no to a lot of things, and not just to drugs or alcohol. Activities and people may pressure you into situations that you don’t want to be in. If know what you’ll say in the situation before you’re in it, you’ll feel more comfortable saying no. Some ideas of things you could say include “thanks for the invite, but no,” “I appreciate you thinking of me, but I can’t make it,” I’m focusing on other things” or “it’s not a good idea for me.”

Know Your Triggers

Photo by Kris Atomic

Know your triggers so that you can avoid difficult situations before they begin. If you know things like intoxicated friends, being out at night, hanging out with the wrong crowd or being around tempting substances may compromise your recovery, avoid them at all costs. If you’re not sure if your triggers will be present at a social gathering, ask the host or play it safe and see your friends another time.

Have a Backup Plan

Photo by Abagail Keenan

Have a backup plan in case you find yourself in a situation where you feel uncomfortable or at risk of a relapse. Have a support system in place with friends or family you know you can count during the holidays. Ask your friends if they’d be willing to pick you up from an unsafe situation, talk to you if you’re struggling and need to check in or leave a social gathering with you if you feel that it’s putting you at risk.

Feature Image: nannetteturner