Relapse During the Holidays

Are You at Risk of Relapse During the Holidays?

Are you concerned about your risk of relapse during the holidays? You don’t have to turn back to alcohol; you can make it through the holiday season sober. Whether or not they realize it, though, people often plan their relapse before it ever happens. Understanding how relapse happens is one of the best ways to protect yourself. 

Relapses happen in three main stages: emotional, mental, and physical. Progression through these three stages may happen slowly over a few hours, days, or weeks. Other situations may send you through the three stages of relapse in only a few minutes. 

The emotional stage refers to heightened emotions that put you at risk of picking up a drink. These include irritation, anger, anxiety, or mood swings. You’re likely not thinking of relapsing just yet but you’re feeling restless, irritable, and discontent. The stresses of the holiday season are likely to place you in this emotional, pre-relapse state.

Mental relapse occurs when you actively begin thinking about drinking. You consider the fun and excitement of a party or the carefree feelings that come with a drink or two. These start as passive, idle thoughts but get progressively more real the longer you keep them in your head. You must put a stop to the mental stage and prevent your relapse before it goes too far.

Finally, a physical relapse occurs the moment you finally, intentionally take a drink.

How You Can Avoid Relapse During the Holidays

It might feel impossible to make it through the next few weeks without a drink. You don’t need alcohol to have a good time this holiday season, though. There are plenty of things to keep you engaged and away from a drink. Some ways you can avoid relapse during the holidays include:

  • Staying connected with friends and family
  • Doubling down on your coping skills
  • Asking someone to spend some time with you
  • Avoiding triggering environments
  • Attending recovery support meetings

Another way to stay sober during the holidays is with the help of an addiction treatment program. If you’re concerned you may turn back to alcohol, or if you’ve already slipped this holiday season, treatment can help. For example, attending an intensive outpatient program is a great way to reconnect with your recovery before your relapse goes too far.

Credited to. Peace Valley

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