While the holidays are a wonderful opportunity to get together with friends and family, they can also be problematic for those in recovery. The free flow of alcohol, tense interactions with family members, financial worries and a variety of other factors can render recovering addicts increasingly vulnerable to relapse. This is particularly true for those who are new to recovery. The holiday season is commonly cited as a period in which the possibility of relapse is higher.
There are, however, things one can do to insulate themselves from this increased vulnerability. Quality rehab equips patients with behavioral coping mechanisms to deploy in high-pressure situations; however, there are a few simple and fundamental techniques we can utilize to make this time of year safer and more comfortable.
Avoidance (The Good Kind) – For those who are struggling with alcohol addiction, the holidays can be particularly difficult. Alcohol is a pervasive element in social interaction and, whether we’re ready for it or not, we’re bound to encounter sooner or later. If we’re at a place in recovery where being around alcohol is problematic, we can exercise an abundance of caution and steer clear of that situation.
Helping Others – There’s no better time of year than the holidays to exhibit charity and commit ourselves to helping others who need it more than we do. Whether we volunteer at a local shelter or become more involved in our recovery communities, there are numerous opportunities to roll up our sleeves and lend a helping hand. Helping others often further empowers us to take agency over our own lives.
Self-Diagnostic – In the end, only the addict themselves knows how truly vulnerable they are to relapse. By conducting regular self-assessments and identifying how vulnerable we truly are, we can be honest and realistic with ourselves about how much help we need. Regardless, it’s always a good idea to keep our therapists’ or sponsors’ contact information handy in the event of a possible setback.
Those who are in recovery can, and should, feel the warmth and joy of the holiday season. By staying mindful of vulnerability and putting recovery first, this becomes infinitely more possible.