Dealing With Addiction During The Holidays
Tips for dealing with addiction during the holidays can help prevent relapse
Dealing with addiction during the holidays is a major concern for those individuals who are recovering from drug or alcohol abuse. There may be times during the holiday season when a recovering addict will be around people who are drinking alcohol and possibly using drugs. It can be a time of great temptation, but it doesn’t have to be if the addict follows certain rules of engagement. If you or a loved one is a recovering addict, here are some tips for addicts during the holidays:
- Renewing the mind
The first thing to remember is that recovery from addiction doesn’t stop with the detox process. Detox is just the initial stage and now your journey is to make a new life for yourself without drugs or alcohol. You can maintain sobriety when you keep your mind strong and focused on the goal. That means that many thoughts and behaviors from your former life have to change. You have to give up relationships that are harmful to you and may tempt or trigger you to use drugs or alcohol. You also have to rid yourself of destructive thoughts that have led you down the wrong path. Counseling is a great help in uncovering the conditioned thoughts that have led you astray, and once you identify these thought patterns you can remove them from your life.
- Avoid high-risk
You should try to avoid high-risk situations as best as you can, although sometimes you will encounter them, especially during the holidays. To manage these times effectively, you should have dialogue prepared and a plan of escape. Make a list of polite answers and comebacks for people who may try to tempt you, or resist them by smiling and excusing yourself from their presence. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your behavior, especially people who try to undermine you. Bring a trusted friend along, if you have to be at a high-risk gathering, to help you stay strong and safe. Preparing a plan ahead of time is your best defense for holiday triggers recovery.
Another important tip for dealing with addiction during the holidays is to remember the acronym HALT= hungry, angry, lonely and tired. You will be more susceptible to temptation and triggers if you are hungry, angry, lonely or tired, so get plenty of rest and eat a nutritious diet. Don’t allow yourself to become isolated and lonely during the holidays if it will make you sad or depressed. Spend time with family and friends that love you and support your recovery. And rid yourself of all anger because it is not healthy for anger to dwell in your mind and heart. Learn to forgive others and yourself, and put the past behind you. Focus on the present and work to build a new and better future for yourself.
The holidays can be a stressful time with more things to get done and more places and people to visit. De-stress yourself and learn how to relax and enjoy life. Stress can create a lot of negative thoughts and emotions that can erupt into harmful words and actions, or seek an escape through drugs or alcohol. It is the body’s natural response of “fight or flight” that determines which action you will take if you give in to stress. To keep yourself from reaching a stressful state you should get plenty of rest and relaxation. Whatever floats your boat and helps you to relax is good. Some options you might consider are: exercise, running, swimming, cooking, reading, arts and craft projects, watching movies, playing video games etc. Relieving stress and tension is essential to good health and a successful recovery.
You should learn to be honest with the people who are important in your life – yourself, your counselor, family, support group and doctor. Lying and manipulation are a part of an addict’s repertoire, but not for someone who has recovered. If something has you concerned, you should speak to your counselor or a trusted friend about it. Try to become more self-aware about your thoughts, words and deeds. If you see something you don’t like about yourself then you must make the commitment to change it.
- Common sense
Re-learning how to socialize with others is an important step of recovery, and the holidays will give you plenty of opportunity to socialize. Another good tip for addicts during the holidays is to remember that you do not have to tell everyone that you are a recovering addict; many people won’t care either way, and some may use it to your detriment. This is where common sense and discernment comes into play.
When you follow these tips for addicts during the holidays you will be able to retain your sobriety and peace of mind and enjoy the holidays.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the White Sands Treatment Center at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.