There are several difficult steps that individuals have to make when they want to get sober and stay that way. We often hear about how reaching out for help is the hardest part, which is certainly no lie. However, that does not mean that the challenges lessen once someone has waved the white flag. No matter how long you have been in recovery, there always remains the risk of potentially relapsing. This risk becomes even greater during the holiday season, as there can be triggering events occurring all around. To combat relapse, it is crucial to learn more about staying sober over the holidays.
What is Relapse?
It is commonly misunderstood that relapse happens with the snap of one’s fingers. Relapse does not work that way, rather there is typically a process that builds prior to an individual taking action. This process occurs in three stages: emotional, mental, and physical relapse.
An emotional relapse occurs when an individual begins abandoning their self-care routines, leaving them susceptible to neglecting their basic needs and wants. As an emotional relapse continues without intervention, a mental relapse can quickly follow. When a mental relapse is occurring, individuals may begin to feel negatively about themselves and start fantasizing about substance abuse again. It is at this time that they may begin planning a physical relapse, which occurs when the substance in question is abused again.
Relapse prevention is something that those in recovery need to remain focused on. That is because relapse is a real possibility, with studies showing that anywhere from 40-60% of people in recovery experience a relapse. If you are in recovery from addiction and are going into the holiday season, there are a handful of things that you can do to stay sober and prevent relapse from occurring.
5 Tips for Staying Sober Over the Holidays
Regardless of if you are 40 days or 40 years into your recovery, it is always helpful to be aware of how to stay sober over the holidays. The holiday season, despite being celebrated as one of the most wonderful times of the year, can be extremely difficult for many. Your schedule gets busier, the stress of shopping for gifts sets in, and traveling to and from loved ones’ homes can get exhausting. If you are finding that staying sober is more challenging during this time, consider some of the following tips.
1. Enroll in a treatment program
If you are feeling as though your sobriety is on thin ice, enrolling in a treatment program can be how to stay sober over the holidays. The level of treatment you require will vary based on your own unique needs, however, whatever is determined for you is usually a good place to start. Regardless of if you need to re-enroll in an inpatient program or join an outpatient program, seeking that extra help can bolster your recovery and, in turn, prevent relapse during the holidays.
2. Put Your Coping Skills to Work
If you have gone from being actively addicted to drugs or alcohol to being in recovery, you must have developed a number of coping skills along the way. If you are wondering how to stay sober over the holidays, putting your coping skills to work is certainly one of them. Consider those skills that have helped you the most throughout your recovery. Whether it is meditating every day or shaping up your diet and exercise routine, put those skills into action.
3. Increase Your Self-Care
Self-care is easily one of the most important aspects of staying sober, as it can prevent you from developing the mental and emotional overload that will encourage you to drink. Whatever your self-care routine is now, consider increasing your routine. Say you normally get outside and exercise every day, but now that it is the holiday season and a lot colder, you may not be doing that as much. Compensate by working out at home or even by joining a gym.
4. Plan for the Worst-Case Scenario
If you are still unsure of how to stay sober over the holidays, something you can do is prepare for the worst-case scenario. Make sure that you have a team of supports available and on alert as you go into this time of year. Let your therapist, prescriber, and any other healthcare provider know that you are nervous about your sobriety during the holidays. Allow them to offer you some support and develop a plan with them so that you can reach out in the event you are triggered or you relapse. Remember, relapsing is not a failure, but getting back up on your feet as quickly as possible is ideal.
5. Go to Meetings
No matter if it is a normal Tuesday or Christmas Day, there are dozens of local support group meetings in your area that you can attend. Programs like Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous are always running meetings, especially during the holidays. In fact, these groups often keep their doors open 24/7 on holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, allowing for you to attend no matter what the time is.
Implementing these tips into your daily life can help you prevent relapse from occurring so that you can enjoy your holiday season as much as possible.
Drug and Alcohol Rehab in Knoxville, TN
If you are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, reach out to our team at Tennessee Valley Recovery right now. We go to all ends to ensure that the care you receive is exactly what you need in order to succeed in your recovery.
Don’t leave yourself to wonder how to stay sober over the holidays. Ask for the help and guidance you deserve by calling us now.