Once you achieve your goals in substance rehab, your next big hurdle is avoiding a drug or alcohol relapse. Relapses can occur at any time. You can overcome them with support and renewed vigilance and restore your sobriety. Still, it’s best to do everything you can to prevent them. When the holiday season arrives, your objective of staying sober can be much harder to reach. That’s true because drinking is often a significant feature of holiday festivities. But with help from a relapse prevention plan, you can make it into the new year with your sobriety intact. Reach out to Evoke Waltham at 866.276.1920 today to better understand how to avoid relapse during the holiday season.
How Do Relapses Happen?
Relapse begins long before you break abstinence and actually use alcohol or drugs. The first thing that happens is an unconscious change in your behavior that makes you vulnerable to future problems. As the process continues, you will find yourself internally debating the merits of sobriety versus substance use. Only when you lose this internal struggle do you take a drink or a dose of a given drug.
Why Avoiding Relapse During the Holidays Is Harder
Most people who relapse during the holidays have no intention of doing so. They actively seek to avoid such a scenario. Nevertheless, relapse rates continue to rise predictably this time of year. Why do your relapse risks typically ramp up in the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day?
There is no single issue that affects everyone in recovery. However, some of the strains on holiday abstinence are widespread. That includes such things as:
- Society’s increased rate of substance use during the holidays
- An increase in your general stress levels as the holidays approach
- The pull of traditional methods of celebrating the season
- Direct or indirect pressure to join in
- The simple act of being around others who are drinking or using drugs
You may also experience heightened family conflicts during the season. In addition, some people associate the season with past traumatic experiences.
Ways of Successfully Preventing Relapse During the Holidays
If you have a plan in place, preventing relapse during the holidays is a realistic, achievable goal. Common elements of an effective plan include:
- Understanding the specific holiday relapse strains affecting you
- Learning how to spot these negative influences as quickly as possible
- Deciding in advance what to do when your drug or alcohol urges start to rise
- Telling your supportive loved ones and recovery peers about your holiday sobriety goals
In addition, you can turn to your support network in crisis moments that put your sobriety at risk.
Treatment as a Relapse Prevention Resource
Even the best self-directed relapse prevention plan can fail. Talk to an addiction professional if you think the risk of a holiday relapse is too great. This step is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it underscores your commitment to maintaining your sobriety. To keep your sobriety in place, you may need to restart treatment. If so, a specialist can make an appropriate recommendation. For some people, the solution is an outpatient program. Others may need to enroll in a residential rehab program.
Learn More About Avoiding Relapse During the Holidays at Evoke Waltham
Want to develop a holiday relapse prevention plan? The recovery specialists at Evoke Waltham can help. No matter your situation, we offer timely, expert advice on avoiding relapse during the holidays. Need active treatment to maintain your holiday sobriety? Evoke Waltham features a full slate of options to support your goals. That’s one more way we help you create and maintain a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle. To get started, contact us today at 866.276.1920 or fill out our online form.