Stop the Stress of the Holidays from Affecting Your Recovery
Stress and the holidays often go hand in hand. For those who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, the triggers to relapse can be found on every corner. Here are just a few of the most common stressors to plague those in recovery during the holiday season:
- Family Gatherings. Family is stressful no matter what the context. Dealing with the interpersonal issues among other members of the family can be difficult and if those issues are your own, it can make even being in the same room with certain people during the holidays a difficult experience.
- Work Functions. Alcohol is all over holiday parties for work. Whether it’s the annual office party or dinners out with different clients, bottles of wine and spiked punch bowls in common – in many cases, other substances are passed around, as well. It can be hard to say “no” during a social gathering, especially if you feel that your job is on the line.
- Financial Stress. The holiday season is expensive. It’s not just about buying gifts, but supporting different charities and providing for those less fortunate, wearing the right clothes to different events and making sure that everything is as put together as it can be for guests or travel.
- Deadlines. You’ve got to get the decorations up on time; find, buy, and package Christmas presents so that they get where they’re going before the big day; pay off credit cards before the bill is overdue or the card is maxed out; manage your schedule so that you can get to all the right events – just worrying about the calendar is enough stress to make anyone want to relapse and forget about it all.
So how do you handle each of these unavoidable stressors and avoid relapse at the same time? Here are a few ideas:
- Go to 12-step meetings for emergency support.
- Enroll in outpatient addiction treatment to give you structure and accountability.
- Choose just a few events to attend.
- Avoid events that you feel may be too stressful, no matter who is disappointed by your choice.
- Take a sober friend with you to parties and social events.
- Do as much buying, planning, packaging, and shipping as you can ahead of time.
- Don’t be afraid to say “no” if you feel like you can’t handle a holiday request.
What are your suggestions for staying clean and sober during the holiday season? Leave us a comment below and share your thoughts.