Relapse prevention may be on the top of your mind this holiday season. The holidays are generally considered a joyful, festive time, but they can be especially challenging for people in recovery from addiction, no matter how long they are in recovery. The stress of added obligations, family dynamics, a long to-do list and the fact that many holiday parties feature alcohol can make holiday time uncomfortable-and could even jeopardize your recovery. Fortunately, with some advance planning and extra thought for how to best get through this time of year, it's possible to maintain your sobriety and enjoy the holidays. So what relapse prevention and recovery therapy strategies can someone in recovery use during the holidays?
Relapse Prevention and Recovery Therapy Tips
Relapse Prevention Tip 1: Manage Stress As Part Of Your Recovery Therapy
To prevent relapse, you must focus on managing stress. Stress is a key trigger for many people in recovery. Not only does good stress management protect your sobriety, but it keeps your body and mind healthy in many ways-such as controlling blood pressure and heart rate-and helps your body better handle the aging process.
Relapse Prevention Tip 2: Gather Social Support
The most important recovery therapy strategy is to gather social support. Be sure to surround yourself with people who understand what you're going through and want you to succeed. These are the individuals you can turn to if you feel your stress level rising.
Relapse Prevention Top 3: Find Alternatives
Another key recovery therapy strategy is to identify several behaviors you can engage in instead of drinking or using drugs, if you become tempted to relapse. It's best to have this list ready before a situation like this arises; you can even write the list down so you won't forget your ideas. Examples of alternate, healthy coping strategies-as opposed to unhealthy, addictive coping strategies-include exercising, walking the dog, calling a friend, meeting a sponsor, volunteering to help others, do some yoga or meditation, try a deep-breathing relaxation exercise, or get involved in a distracting holiday activity that will take your mind off things, such as trimming the tree with your kids or nieces and nephews. Anything that occupies your mind and body while providing a temptation-free environment is good!
Remember Recovery Therapy 101: Consistency
Finally, be consistent with your recovery process. In other words, don't let the busy holiday time keep you from the treatment options that have helped you remain sober so far. Attend your regular therapy and other health-care appointments, continue to go to support-group meetings, take your medication consistently if appropriate and maintain a healthy diet and sleep schedule. All these strategies will help you maintain your relapse prevention plan and sobriety even during the sometimes stressful holiday time.