Defined by the NIDA, addiction is a chronic compulsive condition that is highly prone to relapse. It can be difficult for a recovering addict to stay sober during the holiday season, where most celebrations include alcohol and other indulgences that can trigger a relapse.
If you or a loved one has relapsed and has an addiction, please call 800-481-6320 for help in regaining your sobriety. In the meantime, here are some tips to help you stay sober during holiday celebrations.
Know The Warning Signs
Just as everyone responds to addiction differently, every will also have different triggers and warning signs of a craving. During your treatment, you most likely would have learned about how your addiction developed and what causes you to use.
Realize that you’ll likely be faced with one of your triggers at the celebration.
As the saying goes, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” and that can sometimes apply to addiction and sobriety. When you go to a holiday celebration while in recovery, it is best to start off with a realistic set of expectations about how things may go.
Due to its unpredictability, addiction is often handled on a day by day basis. There’s no guarantee that you will not be exposed to a trigger at an event, so you shouldn’t expect it to not happen.
If you are traveling for the holidays, make sure that you have a plan in place for when you feel tempted. Know who is going to be at the celebration, what is going to be there, and what resources are available for you in the area.
Find out if there are open support groups in the area and what times they meet before you leave. Have a back-up in place, just in case your initial plans fall through.
There are a lot of things that can happen at a holiday celebration and it can be easy to get distracted or caught up in the moment. A good way to keep yourself sober at a celebration is to keep an eye on what you eat or drink, and don’t let someone else serve you.
Serve yourself so you can control what you eat and drink. Also, pay attention to where you put down your beverages so you don’t accidently grab one that is alcoholic.
Organizations like SAMHSA consider having a support system during recovery to be a key factor in staying sober. Making sure that those in your support system know that you are attending a celebration during the holidays and that you may need to contact them in case of a craving.
Check in with them throughout the celebration, even if it’s by text. If someone from your support system is present at the celebration, make sure that you can easily get their attention during the party. Possibly consider planning on being there at the same time, maybe even arriving or leaving together.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, know there is help. Please call 800-481-6320 to learn more about what treatment options are available for you.
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