While the holidays are an exciting and joyful time for many, those suffering from addiction (or who are in recovery) can find this time of year especially challenging. The stresses of the holiday season or exposure to certain activities and individuals can greatly increase the risk for a relapse. Because of this, creating an active plan to maintain your sobriety is essential in the lead-up to the holidays.
For many, interactions with family can greatly increase holiday stress. This is especially true if certain family members are liable to want to discuss your addiction, including past incidents you’d rather forget. It can be even more challenging if one of your family members got you involved with drugs or alcohol.
Psychologists recommend practicing how you will respond to these questions and situations in advance. A trusted friend could help you role-play these situations so that you aren’t toppled by stress when they come up later. Alternatively, a better solution might be to spend the holidays with a different group of family or friends who will be more respectful of your situation.
Adopting healthy coping mechanisms for stress is more important than ever during the holiday season. Focus on healthy coping techniques you have learned so you can avoid addiction triggers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you start to feel overwhelmed. By planning ahead regarding who you can ask for help and what you can do when you feel tempted to slip into old habits, you can stay sober during the holidays.